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I Explain a Few Things: Selected Poems

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4.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  227 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
"Laughter is the language of the soul," Pablo Neruda said. Among the most lasting voices of the most tumultuous (in his own words, "the saddest") century, a witness and a chronicler of its most decisive events, he is the author of more than thirty-five books of poetry and one of Latin America's most revered writers, the emblem of the engaged poet, an artist whose heart, al ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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kenneth
Jul 31, 2015 kenneth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Neruda is, of course, an undisputed genius. This book presents an array of his work from throughout his life. The poems encompass different themes and styles. Neruda is an important poet because he wrestles not merely with the metaphysical; he also tackles the issues of his time and by doing so he gives them a sense of timelessness. He is even prophetic in his portrayal of the harmful effects of global corporations, which act as a modern extension of imperialism. (As in his poem "The United Frui ...more
Bonny
Oct 22, 2011 Bonny rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful collection of Neruda's poetry. I like this bilingual edition. The poems have a powerful lyricism in Spanish that I was glad not to have missed. His poems have a crisper edge in English, but nevertheless, retain their power. I love his Ode Poems, especially: Ode To The Eye, Ode To Walt Whitman and Ode To The Atom. Ode To The Dictioary is amusing, too. He seems able to write on any and all topics, painting a broad picture of his life, thoughts, and feelings. His strokes are lar ...more
metaphor
Jan 23, 2016 metaphor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, pablo-neruda
And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
*
My heart broke loose with the wind.
*
Perhaps I don’t know, perhaps I didn’t know,
perhaps I never knew.
*
and the clock cannot turn back
to bring us together in tenderness.
*
and those hands of mine
could only grasp intangibles,
untouchable things
which could only be compared
when they no longer existed.

*
thinking maybe
but knowing never again
*
As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge
...more
Arlene
Mar 10, 2010 Arlene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, read-2010
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) is a widely acclaimed Chilean poet. He was a recipient of the World Peace Prize in 1950 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. One of his idols was Walt Whitman, and he even wrote an ode to honor him. He was a staunch supporter of Stalin and Fidel Castro, and you can even detect some of that influence in his poetry.

I'm glad I chose "I Explain a Few Things", which is a translation of his poetry because I liked the format of the book. The reader has the original Spani
...more
Joel Ortiz-Quintanilla
Feb 03, 2014 Joel Ortiz-Quintanilla rated it it was amazing
one of the best books of any language! oh Neruda, that sly old poet writing his life in verse in his universe. I remember residencia en tierra and thought how man can think like this, this Neruda was very interesting, then I read his odas which are like waves of his life trying to find some land so he can exist! Isla NEgra made me laugh in his sad twisted way of describing the obvious world in words. and one hundred love sonnets when it sat read on my shelf with pride in its covers to demand lif ...more
Dan Robinson
Jan 24, 2008 Dan Robinson is currently reading it
Just getting started with Neruda - chose this one from the bookstore shelf - feels rather like the beginning of a journey - I hope that I get lost ....
Ellis
Nov 15, 2010 Ellis rated it it was amazing
"I Explain a Few Things" is my favorite poem of all time!
Kristin
Jun 13, 2014 Kristin rated it really liked it
Despite writing a fair bit of it, I'm actually not a fan of poetry. But I don't think I've discovered a poet that can weave words together in such a way that leaves me literally breathless at times.

Neruda has such a talent. I long for his poetry. This isn't something I can say about any other poet.

Please read this. His words will touch you. I guarantee it.
kaitlyn
Jul 28, 2015 kaitlyn rated it it was amazing
I finished this collection and immediately wanted to start over again. I underlined so many passages and dog-eared so many pages and sent lines from so many poems to so many friends and read so many poems out loud to myself and to others and cried and laughed so many times.
Amber
Oct 20, 2015 Amber rated it liked it
I normally love me some Neruda but I now realize that I don't like most of his longer poems- of which this is comprised mostly of. I'll stick to the shorter love poems from now on.
Ricky
Jul 04, 2009 Ricky rated it really liked it
Pablo Neruda is a Chilean poet and politician. All of his poems were written in Spanish, but even when translated, his words are powerful and fresh. If you don't want to take time to read a book of poetry, at least read the poems Walking Around, We Are Many, the People, Ode to the Atom, and I Ask For Silence. I highly recommend it.
Joe
Oct 27, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008, poetry
The best "selected" I've found. Not a greatest hits. A simple field guide.

From Ilan Stevens's translation of "Ode to the Eye"

Then, at night,
your small
closing
window
opens up from the other end, like a tunnel,
to the unsettled homeland of dreams.
Catharine
Sep 26, 2008 Catharine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: to anyone .......
Recommended to Catharine by: Kerri Pike
Neruda is one of my favorie writers. I love this edition because it is bi-lingual, and i can read and hear his words in his native tongue. Often, there is not apt translation, only a munged up germanic version of an exquisite romance language thought.
Melissa Jackson
Oct 28, 2009 Melissa Jackson rated it it was amazing
This is a great collection of his most celebrated and esteemed poetry. The key, as with reading any author of a different language than your own, is the translation. And this book has the best versions and best translations of each selection.
Megan
Oct 05, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing
Love this book to the moon & back. Allowed me to practice reading in spanish while also attempting to decipher the meaning behind his poems, also has a reliable english translation for us gringas, picking up this book is always enjoyable.
Sara J.
May 19, 2015 Sara J. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Love this bi-lingual edition.

Despite the best efforts... part of the meaning will always be lost in translation. Nice to be able to read the original, different languages always flow differently.

Just so.
Books Ring Mah Bell
Dec 30, 2009 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
12/21 - just starting... this claims to have 50 of his best poems. I'll decide. I was also promised some poems not previously translated in English.

Tonight's selection for "Book, beer and bath".
Mick
Dec 16, 2008 Mick rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Yes
It's a pretty solid collection drawn from his individual works; I was especially pleased with excerpt from CANTO GENERAL and the poem "Ode to an Elephant."
Kate
Mar 22, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
I love Neruda's passion and his simple beauty when it comes to words. This is a great collection of his work
Alex Barber
Jan 15, 2013 Alex Barber rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I love Pablo Neruda. The translations aren't too bad in this book. The original poems are very good.
Theresa
Feb 01, 2009 Theresa rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I love Neruda's odes. I think his ode to a dictionary is just awesome.
Maxine Franks
Mar 01, 2010 Maxine Franks is currently reading it
Pablo Neruda is under appreciated. He knows romance. He knows love.
Olivia
Sep 10, 2014 Olivia rated it it was amazing
Puedo escribir los versos mas tristes esta noche.
Lydia Ingram
May 08, 2013 Lydia Ingram rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking. Absolutely breathtaking.
Anthony
Apr 09, 2011 Anthony rated it it was amazing
Uh. Love Neruda.
Sophia
Sophia rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2016
Nizam uddin
Nizam uddin rated it really liked it
Jun 17, 2016
Anna
Anna marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2016
Morgan Darling
Morgan Darling is currently reading it
May 18, 2016
Claire Wählen
Claire Wählen rated it really liked it
May 17, 2016
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Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda assumed his pen name as a teenager, partly because it was in vogue, partly to hide his poetry from his father, a rigid man who wanted his son to have a "practical" occupation. Neruda's pen name was derived from Czech writer and poet Jan Neruda; Pablo is thought to be fro ...more
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