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Residence on Earth

4.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,803 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Poems written by the prolific Chilean poet between the 1920's and 1940's illuminate his views on alienation and political oppression.
Paperback, 359 pages
Published December 31st 1973 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1933)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Missy LaRae
Apr 20, 2012 Missy LaRae rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I've read this many times, and every single time I feel like I've found some new gem. What amazes me most about this book is the English translation on one side and the Spanish translation on the other.

I'm a total sucker for emotional, provoking poetry, and this book of poetry was written during a time of exile for Neruda. Neruda has a very intriguing voice, and he puts you RIGHT THERE. One of my favorites.

Slow Lament

"Into the night of the heart
your name drops slowly
and moves in silence and fa
May 28, 2013 Fidel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013, poetry
Nací con impermeable para el verbo Nerudiano. O algo pasa. Y es que no cala, no cala, no cala. Leo palabras, una dispuesta detrás de la otra, y me parece estar mirando una pared, con sus piedras, con su musgo, con su cemento, pero nada más. Pared, pared.

Si solamente me tocaras el corazón,
si solamente pusieras tu boca en mi corazón,
tu fina boca, tus dientes,
si pusieras tu lengua como una flecha roja
allí donde mi corazón polvoriento golpea,
si soplaras en mi corazón, cerca del mar, llorando,
Michael Young
Feb 20, 2013 Michael Young rated it it was amazing
Certainly Neruda is one of the greatest poets in any language. This, I believe, is his magnum opus. Really three collections in one, it ranges over a vast terrain of love, endurance, teleology, politics, mourning and renewal. It is clear that the isolation he felt during his time abroad as a diplomat provided him the impetus to dive into primal regions in ways few are ever capable of. Nearly every line is stunning, a surprise that provides not just a source of thought but a new profound experien ...more
Feb 23, 2011 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me, Neruda's poetry is nourishment of the richest and most inspired sort - and in Residence on Earth its beautiful, lyrical melodies ring nearly as sublime in Donald Walsh's sterling translations as in the Spanish of the Chilean Master. Off-and-on my favorite collection of Neruda's genius, one that never sits for long on my bookshelves.

The day of the luckless, the pale day peers out
with a chill and piercing smell, with its forces gray,
without rattles, the dawn oozing everywhere:
it is a shipw
Mar 20, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prose
When I was in High School in the 90's skipping class to get high, I would often stumble into the school library. One day I was fortunate enough to pick this particular book out of the stacks. We all have pivotal moments in our lives that change us, and the way we look at the world; I can in all honestly say that day was one of mine.

This particular edition is made up of excellent translations presented alongside the original Spanish text, this has allowed me to explore Neruda's original intent in
May 17, 2009 El rated it it was amazing
I have a hard time reviewing poetry as I find poetry more visceral than cerebral, especially when it comes to Pablo Neruda. Even when he discusses his politics, or his environment, his words evoke such emotion in me. His poetry is not just about love for another woman as a lot of poetry does, and occasionally there is the disdainful poem which only illustrates to me his humanity.

Neruda is a poet to be experienced, not taught. Do yourself the favor of reading something by him.
Julio Quintana
Feb 05, 2016 Julio Quintana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Un plato para el obispo, un plato triturado y amargo,
un plato con restos de hierro, con cenizas, con lágrimas,
un plato sumergido, con sollozos y paredes caídas,
un plato para el obispo, un plato de sangre de Almería.

Un plato para el banquero, un plato con mejillas
de niños del Sur feliz, un plato
con detonaciones, con aguas locas y ruinas y espanto,
un plato con ejes partidos y cabezas pisadas,
un plato negro, un plato de sangre de Almería" Almería -fragmento-

"Si solamente me tocaras el corazón,
Apr 18, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it
If I were a translator of poetry, I would constantly be tempted by sin -- the sin of making the poem say what I want it to say and sound how I want it to sound, regardless of what the poet intended, or would have wanted had s/he been writing in English. I often find this temptation rears its ugly head with Neruda in particular. I don't read Spanish, but because I read Latin (or used to) and French, I somehow feel entitled to judge the Neruda translations I read, or at least to get bilingual edit ...more
Tom Steele
Sep 22, 2011 Tom Steele rated it really liked it
This is my first Neruda work that I've read and my first experience with a Latin-speaking poet before. That being said I am sure that there is a lot lost in translation so I know that what I get from these poems isn't all there is to be had, potentially.

Even considering this linquistic handicap I still loved this work. Neruda shows a broad range of emotions and points of view (which is to be expected considering it covers such a large period of time in his life) and I find myself enjoying most
Liam Howley
Dec 12, 2013 Liam Howley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alliance (Sonata)

Neither the heart cut by a sliver of glass
in a wasteland of thorns,
nor the atrocious waters seen in the corners
of certain houses, waters like eyelids and eyes,
could hold your waist in my hands
when my heart lifts its oak trees
toward your unbreakable thread of snow.

Night sugar, spirit
of crowns,
human blood, your kisses
banish me,
and a surge of water with remnants of the sea
strikes the silences that wait for you
surrounding the worn-out chairs, wearing doors away.

Nights with
Mar 17, 2013 Nathan rated it it was amazing
I've been reading an unusual amount of poetry of late - really just a coincidence, but that has resulted in some interesting juxtapositions. I won't go so far as to say that poetry and prose shouldn't be considered under the same umbrella of literature, but the reader engages with most poetry so differently than most prose. And then I begin to think of the compelling exceptions to that rule, and the duality begins to break down...

There is a list of adjectives and corresponding schools easily app
Jun 16, 2008 Alex rated it really liked it
Reading this book reminds me of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's description of the phenomenological being as participant in some "primordial faith". If M-P was an aspirant of such a faith, then in Neruda we behold its patron saint of verse.

Images slide across the page, flip on their backs, revealing briefly some tender truths, then right themselves and skitter away into the shadows of dreams. Often they laugh.

The reader finds himself existing on the level of sense and unmediated synchrony. Wafts of mem
Pablo Neruda

[* ] 1/2 Star.

This book is hard to fully get since vanguardists are wonky at best (which I tend to approve) but damn, his background makes me dislike the dude. I spent the whole class on a "what the heck? stop whining!" state of mind.

I'm a subjective person trying to get rid of her emotions so I can be somewhat of an objective adult here. I can't help but judge him though and I dislike the fact.

His writing may be quite good but his constant whining without tak
Dec 15, 2009 Yuval rated it liked it
After finishing 2666 I started reading the books Bolaño loved and thought I'd start with poetry. Having known more about Pablo Neruda than having known his work first-hand, I decided to start with this collection. When asked what his favorite poem by Neruda was, Bolaño said, "almost any in RESIDENCE ON EARTH."

I forget that appreciating poetry in another language is quite different from appreciating prose in another language, and I do feel a barrier to the texts of these poems. What comes across
Jun 23, 2015 Loreto rated it really liked it
cuatro estrellas porque no se compara a "veinte poemas...", pero, en definitiva, es una vanguardia muy innovadora, porque (a diferencia de muchos y en similitud con Borges) es una vanguardia que rescata el pasado, el recuerdo, "lo nuestro", rescata la residencia...citando a Garramuño: hay algo inquietantemente vanguardista en ese gesto. Bravo Pablo, nunca te quedaste atrás.
Aug 17, 2014 Carey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
One of my favorites poets, along with Octavio Paz, there is a verse in Neruda's poem "Estatuto del Vino (Ordinance of Wine)" from this collection that just draws my mind to the open road every time I read it:

Remembering nights, ships, seed time,
departed friends, circumstances,
bitter hospitals and girls ajar:
remembering a wave slapping a certain rock,
with an adornment of flour and foam,
and the life that one leads in certain countries,
on certain solitary coasts,
a sound of stars in the palm trees,
Aug 10, 2007 Paolo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone.
One of the most influential books on my shelf. And a more faithful translation by Walsh to Neruda's Spanish. One thing I can't stand about the Industry of Neruda is how these older white male anglo writers take great liberties in washing over the meaning of the original Spanish. For example, in Merwin's translation of 'The Widower's Tango', he translates 'orinar' as 'making water'. Wtf is that? The speaker is TELLING how he listens to his obsessive lover pee in the night, and 'making water' does ...more
Christina Gouthro
Oct 15, 2012 Christina Gouthro rated it it was amazing

The true testament of a man. How can any single person put that into work?

He shows us his soul, his dirty and sad and terribly beautiful soul, but he shows it to us in the most proper prose.

He shows us the clouds of love,

He shows us the deepest parts of the dirtiest trenches of the wretched war. He keeps the prose.

He finds his way out, and eventually back to his entirety, his love, his true soul mate... his reason for living. His analogies of love and life are what keep our creative minds on
Jun 08, 2015 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, poetry, global
I loved how blunt he could be! However, I found the english translation to be a bit dry, so I stuck with the original spanish. So it goes with translations I guess.
Mar 17, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
Synopsis: Pablo Neruda focuses on his life and describes what it feels like to be alive through his collections of poetry. From love poems to descriptive poems, Neruda’s perception of life is outlined. The individuals that impact one’s life and the emotions that one can hold within are portrayed.

Review: Residence on Earth is an excellent read. Neruda’s poems relate to the mix of emotions a person can experience. The detail and figurative language illustrate Neruda’s thoughts regarding his life,
Sep 11, 2015 Chanti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You never fail me, Neruda.

Alberto Rojas Jiménez Comes Flying is my favorite. Magical.
Bruce Crown
Jan 22, 2016 Bruce Crown rated it really liked it
Excellent bilingual edition and the translation is fluid. The prose sections especially.
Lamski Kikita
Jun 23, 2013 Lamski Kikita rated it liked it
the rating I gave here is because of the translation, which I found extremely dry. I realize that the English language is sometimes unequipped with words that could really mirror expressions and meanings that exist in other languages, but I just feel like it is more of a translator's problem here. unfortunately this is the only English translation available of this collection. I had to peek at the Spanish side and find the missing melodies and meanings that were lacking in the translation. betwe ...more
Robert Blagov
May 10, 2015 Robert Blagov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-library
Single Gentleman; Ritual of my Legs; Nocturnal Est.
Apr 07, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
This book was a re-read for me, but a useful one. The book is divided into three sections, and the poems in them span a rather large section of time. The 3 volumes were published in 1933, 1935, and 1947. While the first two sections are filled with rich, dreamlike language describing love and other daily experiences, the third section is steeped in war, revolution, and the labor struggle. This represents a natural progression in the evolution of the poet's work. Whatever Neruda's purpose, he is ...more
Sinan Öner
I read Neruda's book, I liked.
Sep 10, 2011 Kameron rated it it was amazing
there's, of course, a big loss reading this in translation. just this one example:

>> made of fat and skinny, sad and happy pairings <<

>> hechos de gordas y flacas y alegres y tristes parejas <<

there's so much rhythm in the Spanish; none in the English.

but the content is all about a lonely man, who is filled with so much love, so much lust, so much poetry. and he lives alone. and he doesn't see how this is the case.

considered one of the greatest poets of the world, you can
Aug 03, 2010 Vogisland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I loved this book until I got to section IV of Third Residence, p. 248, "Spain in Our Hearts". At this point Neruda is overwhelmed by grief over the Spanish civil war and his intricate surrealist imagery gives way to dull political poetry. Section headings: "Spain poor through the fault of the rich", "General Franco in Hell", "The Unions at the Front", "A New Love Song to Stalingrad". Plenty of great stuff before that, though: "Ghost of the Cargo Boat", "El Desenterrado", and others stayed with ...more
Brook Miscoski
Aug 03, 2007 Brook Miscoski rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in poetry.
These poems cover a wide range of human experience, from introspective pieces on loneliness, friendship, fear, etc. to outward-looking social justice works. In the Residences there's alot to pick from, some losers, mostly great.

The poems translate well into English, particularly since Neruda was usually involved in the translation, but you'll miss out on the sounds if you can't at least sound out the Spanish text.
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  • Collected Poems
  • The Black Heralds
  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1987
  • Altazor, Or, a Voyage in a Parachute: Poem in VII Cantos (1919)
  • Poemas y antipoemas
  • Selected Poems
  • Poems of Paul Celan
  • Walking the Black Cat
  • Pablo Neruda: Absence and Presence
  • Duino Elegies/The Sonnets of Orpheus
  • New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
  • The Maximus Poems
  • The Collected Poems, 1945-1975
  • Poesía completa
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
More about Pablo Neruda...

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“If you should ask me where I've been all this time
I have to say "Things happen."
I have to dwell on stones darkening the earth,
on the river ruined in its own duration:
I know nothing save things the birds have lost,
the sea I left behind, or my sister crying.
Why this abundance of places? Why does day lock
with day? Why the dark night swilling round
in our mouths? And why the dead?”
“Neither the heart cut by a sliver of glass in a wasteland of thorns, nor the atrocious waters seen in the corners of certain houses, waters like eyelids and eyes, could hold your waist in my hands when my heart lifts its oak trees toward your unbreakable thread of snow.   Night sugar, spirit of crowns, redeemed human blood, your kisses banish me, and a surge of water with remnants of the sea strikes the silences that wait for you surrounding the worn-out chairs, wearing doors away.” 2 likes
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