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Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970
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Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970

4.44  ·  Rating Details ·  642 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This bilingual volume is the definitive collection of the poetry of Pablo Neruda, the 1971 Nobel Prize winner and one of the most profoundly influential poets of the twentieth century. His love poems are earthy and transcendent, and his political poems are the work of a man as incisive, impassioned, and ferociously intelligent as he was sensual. Ben Belitt has drawn the 13 ...more
Paperback, English & Spanish Edition, 431 pages
Published January 12th 1994 by Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press
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(showing 1-30)
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Maria Ella
Very political at first. Then became emotional. And reached to the point that I became hormonal.
Rosa Ramôa
Jan 01, 2015 Rosa Ramôa rated it really liked it
Ode ao Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, a água
é a tua bandeira,
agita as suas cores,
sopra e soa no vento,
náiade negra,
de claridade sem fim,
de fervente sombra,
de pedra com espuma
é o teu tecido,
o lúcido balanço
da tua rede marinha,
o azul movimento
dos teus pés arenosos,
o aceso ramo
dos teus olhos.
Rio, Rio de Janeiro,
os gigantes
salpicaram a tua estátua
com pontos de pimenta,
na tua boca
lombos do mar, nadadeiras
pertubadoramente indolentes,
da fertilidade,tetas da água,
declives de gr
May 07, 2007 Sylvia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
If I was sent to a desert island, this is the single book I would take with me to read for the rest of my life. Some of the English translations in this book are actually pretty horrible; read Selected Poems if you don't read Spanish. This one is a pretty comprehensive survey of my favorite poet of all time, hands down. He could be writing about the Spanish Civil War, the sea, United Fruit Company, the woman he loves, or a pair of socks-- everything is as if you never noticed it or saw it or com ...more
Aug 09, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing
Okay, I didn't read all of this, but what I did read was pretty amazing: I found the level of energy in _Residence on Earth_ (the title given that collection, usually called _Here on Earth_ in this translation) and the way that images roll one after the other is pretty breathtaking. The love sonnets are great, as are many of the Odes I read here. A very solid book, and one that I suspect might be the product of a translator somehow outside the pale?
Anissa Maldonado
Oct 09, 2015 Anissa Maldonado rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing
A lot of people complained about the English translation and I somehow agree with them. I won't go into details about the language used. I know that it is brilliant in Spanish, another reason why I should learn the latter. But I'd give the translator two thumbs up for selecting the poems in this collection.

Neruda has a way of conveying something beautiful, may it be about the mundane everyday life, the intricacy of politics, societal problems, etc. I even enjoyed reading The United Food Co. (re
Jan 16, 2014 Rene rated it it was ok
I just can't give this book a good review, I love Neruda and in truth, I should learn to read Spanish so that I can read his words and let them translate in my mind myself. That said, I agree with so many other reviewers, the translations are pretty bad. Why would anyone without a poet's tongue, try to translate Neruda? Its so bad that I think this book only deserves 2 stars. In addition, the translator uses the word "niggardly" in his preface. Now I know this was 1974, but the selection of his ...more
Mar 28, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites, 2015
I'm giving this five stars for the poetry and the curating of the poems but not for the translations. It's amazing, it includes poems about nature that I can actually stand. I typically roll my eyes as soon as a poem starts to get all nature-y but Neruda writes about plants, flowers, mud, clay, waves, etc. in a way that's unique and arresting. At first I was really excited that this was a bilingual edition but, as other reviews have stated, the translations are pretty bad. I know they're not sup ...more
Dec 13, 2015 William rated it liked it
Understanding Neruda's poetry isn't easy, even for those who speak Spanish. This bilingual edition is of limited help. Often I found myself wondering why Belitt rendered an English word choice out of Neruda's Spanish text. Ilan Stavans has written that 'the field of Neruda’s translators is a particularly belligerent, acrimonious one.' Neruda has been called 'the greatest poet of the twentieth century --in any language' (Marquez) and 'a great bad poet' (Jimenez). An oft made point is that his poe ...more
Dec 23, 2007 Dad rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This is, to me, difficult reading. Yet really satisfying when a poem "hits the mark" and you understand it. Neruda's is the only poetry book I've ever brought, due to the movie "El Postino," in which there is a character loosely based on him, and the actor playing him was so great with Neruda's words I wanted to read more. I have to think much harder than when reading prose, but that's good. Give it a try- it's thought-provoking. And his use of words is simply amazing; beautiful. I've noticed on ...more
Mar 28, 2007 Shirley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reread
Pablo Neruda's poetry really did change my life. This particular cover of this collection reminds me of the summer of 1996, when I was subletting on campus and living in a little girl's room. The girl was gone for the summer, so I was sleeping in her bunkbed. Anyway, I really wanted to learn Spanish because of Pablo Neruda. I remember completely mastering "tengo un coche blanco" and "tienes un coche blanco" (because Chris had a white car, aka Babe) but little else. Anyway, I eventually did learn ...more
Feb 01, 2007 Xavier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this was the best choice in getting a collection of Pablo Neruda's poems. The poems are in both Spanish and English. I feel sorry for those of you who don't understand Spanish because you're really missing out on something. The beauty is in the words, how they're said aloud. The Enlish versions don't do it any justice really.
Sep 19, 2009 Ryan rated it really liked it
I love many of the earlier poems, although Belitt's painstaking precision often tends to muddle both the rhythm and the tone of the poems -- turning what were most likely beautifully wrought phrases into intellectual pastiche.
Feb 06, 2013 Andrea rated it it was amazing
beautiful on every page, this is more relaxing reading than any of those self-help books. My nine year old especially liked "some beasts" and the one about the boy holding the hare- we had a good discussion about the second one.
Sep 07, 2011 Nick is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
My Spanish isn't great, but even I can tell this translation leaves something to be desired. Mr. Belitt seems often to use over-flowery language, losing something of the simple power of Neruda's language. Otherwise my review will wait until I finish the book.
Feb 20, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I wish I understood Spanish better, and could read these wonderful poems in the original language. I especially love his odes to ordinary objects. I always think of my friend, Meghana when I read Neruda, as she introduced his poetry to me.
Jan 05, 2008 Eli rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Every poem is given in both Spanish and English translation, on facing pages. That said, the English translations seem to me a bit stilted and unnecessarily obscure. But I would recommend it to anyone who knows Spanish passably.
May 28, 2008 Kristin rated it really liked it
Shelves: actual-book
This author was referred to me by a spanish speaking friend, and later his poems were read to my spanish class. Neruda is great and wonderful. Very romantic poems and a poem for everything. This is the dual language version, one side spanish and one side english.
Jul 29, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spanish, classics
Beautiful. If you can read it in Spanish, you'll get so much more out of it - the translations are awful.

One complaint - wish there were more love sonnets in this compilation. But its still some of the best poetry I've ever read.
Sep 04, 2007 Tuyet rated it it was amazing
this book is on my shelf and I flip into it every once in a while and a read a new poem and they are very sexy and fantastic
Patrick Lawrence O'Keeffe
Jul 17, 2009 Patrick Lawrence O'Keeffe rated it it was amazing
In original Spanish and English on facing pages. This is in a league by itself. So sensual. Just so natural and human in multiple dimensions.
May 26, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008
I only started reading him a few years ago because of my good friend Chano. When I read Naruda's poems now, I always think of him.
Aug 05, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
This is the best and most complete collection of Pablo Neruda poems--they are also in Spanish and English
Mar 28, 2007 Tara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
for favorite poems, see
Apr 20, 2009 Tony rated it did not like it
I don't have good spanish, but the translations seemed to strip these poems of all their life. Maybe I'm just a dummie. I really enjoy other translations of Neruda much much more.
Oct 21, 2013 Liz rated it it was ok
Both the original Spanish and an English translation are given for each poem. This book is a wide variety of his poems.
Nov 25, 2008 Allison rated it it was amazing
Devastatingly gorgeous and sensual poetry. Pablo Neruda is a must read for anyone that enjoys poetry.
Nov 13, 2007 Sarah marked it as to-read
I love Neruda, though my Spanish speaking friends say he is poorly translated into English. Well, five languages are enough for me right now, so Spanish will have to wait.
Jul 29, 2007 Grey853 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Neruda writes some of the most erotic and wonderful love poems ever. If someone things poems can't be a turn on, they should read this man's work.
Apr 14, 2008 Mandy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mandy by: Dr. Gaylord Brewer
Neruda has a way with words. After reading them all, I think the one about the Lemon will always be my favorite, but there are words that stir my soul in his poems and I loved them.
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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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