The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems
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The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems

4.46 of 5 stars 4.46  ·  rating details  ·  3,006 ratings  ·  121 reviews

This collection of Neruda’s most essential poems will prove indispensable. Selected by a team of poets and prominent Neruda scholars in both Chile and the U.S., this is a definitive selection that draws from the entire breadth and width of Neruda’s various styles and themes. An impressive group of translators that includes Alaistair Reid, Stephen Mitchell, Robert Hass, St

Paperback, Bilingual English and Spanish, 200 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by City Lights Publishers
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I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall alr...more
Someone asked me why I had so many different copies of Neruda and I answered because no one book ever has all the poems or the translations that I want. That's the tricky thing about Neruda. It's also the reason I like dual translation editions, so I can see the original right next to the English.
This bilingual book of poems was published in 2004, the centennial celebration of Pablo Neruda's birth. The collection gives an overview of his writing over the lifetime of this great Latin American poet. The editor chose eight poets to do the translations. The poems presented include some sensual love poems, and some political poems about both Chile and the Spanish Civil War. He wrote earthy poems about vineyards, gardens, the sea, and the ruins of Macchu Picchu. Death was prominent in some of...more
William West
I'll say that this, my first dip into the Neruda universe, affected me more than any encounter with 20th century poetry I've yet had. But I also haven't had many. I'm still at a "greatest hits" level when it comes to poetry, especially modern poetry. Before Neruda, I would have said Yates was my fave 20th century poet, much more than Eliot, but Neruda eclipsed them by a lot.

There's a line in the editor's introduction that compares Neruda's style to red wine. The comparison really stuck with me...more
Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

All those men were there inside,
when she came in totally naked.
They had been drinking: they began to spit.
Newly come from the river, she knew nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way.
The insults flowed down her gleaming flesh.
Obscenities drowned her golden breasts.
Not knowing tears, she did not weep tears.
Not knowing clothes, she did not have clothes.
They blackened her with burnt corks and cigarette stubs,
and rolled around laughing on the tavern floor.
I can write the saddest verses tonight

Write, for example, "The night is full of stars,
twinkling blue, in the distance."

The night wind spins in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest verses tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times beneath the infinite sky.

She loved me, at times I loved her too.
How not to have loved her great still eyes.

I can write the saddest verses tonight.
To think that I don't have her....more
Oct 04, 2013 Louisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Any lover of poetry/gorgeous writing in general
Neruda is perhaps most famous for his One Hundred Love Sonnets, especially XVII. He is also perhaps the greatest poet writing/having written in the Spanish language. Certainly his poetry transcends time - and this edition offers both the original Spanish and beautifully translated English versions. It's a great learning experience for people taking Spanish classes (like I am now). What more could you ask for?

Allow me to offer the following as an example:

Oda Al Libro (II): Ode to the Book (II)

Hp Tan
Some were beautiful (I especially loved 'I Can Write The Saddest Verses Tonight'), some I couldn't even begin to understand (Which totally saddens me) but the poem that got me reading this book was 'I Do Not Love You.... Sonnet XVII' because of Anna and the French Kiss. I chanced upon a line in Anna and the French Kiss and that COMPLETELY made me certain I had to get my hands on a Neruda piece, no matter what. The line, if any of you are wondering, happens to be a very famous line (sorta, I thin...more
Miroku Nemeth
A beautiful and broad collection of his poems, from love to workers' rights....

I Like You When You Are Quiet

I like you when you are quiet because it is as though you are absent,
and you hear me from far away, and my voice does not touch you.
It looks as though your eyes had flown away
and it looks as if a kiss had sealed your mouth.

Like all things are full of my soul
You emerge from the things, full of my soul.
Dream butterfly, you look like my soul,
and you look like a melancoly word.

I like you when...more
Joan Colby
There is no one like Neruda, particularly in the stunning imagery of the early poems. Nine translators are featured in this selection of Neruda’s work, Mark Eisner, John Felstiner, Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Jack Hirschman, Stephen Kessler, Stephen Mitchell and Alastair Reid. Rather than quote poems in their entirety (as they deserve to be read) I’ll note just a few of the images that resonated for me. “death’s arrival on the ox’s tongue” “come near with an apple and a horse,/because there in...more
I believe that death's song is the colour of wet violets,
violets accustomed to the earth,
because the face of death is green,
and the gaze of death is green,
with the sharp wetness of the leaf of a violet,
and its serious colour of wintry impatience.

I'm not sure I can say much more. I brought this on a whim and keep picking it up, delving through it and spending so long just going over and over the same poems. Each time I read them I find something different, something beautiful and sad and min...more
Tracy Gaughan
If you enjoy poetry, if you're prone to being knocked sideways by a simple group of words perfectly formed, expressing a thought or feeling - then you've got to stop what you're doing and get your hands on a copy of this book! This was a no-brainer for me, I LOVE Neruda, his twenty love poems rendered me speechless. But the poems in this collection are sublime. I guess so much is lost in translation (I'd nearly learn Spanish just to read Neruda's words exactly as he wrote them) but Mark Eisner,...more
as a sentimental romantic, i'm pretty much obligated to like this book. moreover, i like to torture my significant other by reading passages from it aloud.
Nobody knows about love, writes about love, like Pablo Neruda. What can I say about him that would ever be enough?
Not quite enough of the love poems for this collection to include all my favourites (when I was studying this I borrowed a blissful old collection from the had tonnes in it, but sadly would have been very expensive and is now out of print) but still, that makes it a very well-rounded selection. Translations are fantastic (bearing well in mind they're translations). Also just a nice book, nice size, nice print, lots of space around the words - perfect for reading poetry and imagining...more
Can I give this six stars?

I had read very few of Neruda's poems before encountering this collection. He is now my favorite poet. I have read and re-read these diverse and gorgeous poems, and look forward to plunging deeper into his body of work.

Although I know little Spanish, I value being able to try to read it in the facing page translation format; sometimes I can begin to discern untranslatable sounds, rhythms, and multiple meanings.

Thank you, Mark Eisner, for this beautiful book.
I was thoroughly impressed with Neruda. He totally lived up to all the hype surrounding him. That being said, I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading this book. I thought he wrote mainly love poems, but even though he does have several love poems in this collection, he blew my mind with some of his more edgy political poems, and his surreal poems. This is a great collection of poems, published by city lights (so you know it's good), and well worth the read.
I've always been a Neruda fan, reading his works in English. Now that I'm learning Spanish, I thought it would be a great idea to read one of my favourite poets in his native language along with the English translation.

Oh, my word. How to make the language come alive rather than to be just floppy dead grammar, hand it to Pablo to craft into beauty. A genius! I am in love with his writings all over again.
Ingrid Keir
Mark Eisner is a genius! This beautiful collection of poetry contains both English & Spanish versions of Neruda's poetry. It contains great breadth & depth at the core and encompasses the vastness of Neruda's work - love, politics, everyday life, landscape. This is a GREAT gift book!

An interesting tidbit - Eisner is also currently working on a film/documentary about Neruda - for more info.

Lilly Louise
Mar 25, 2014 Lilly Louise marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
"Puedo Escribir Los Versos Mas Tristes Esta Noche." has always been one of my favorite poems, and it's as good a time as any to reread it. I've owned this book a while, but haven't reread it in years. I love this book because it's not simply a translation: it keeps each poem in Spanish and the next page contains (an always amazing) translation.
A superb collection from the poetic master and titan with a great collaboration of translators. I've read this in Spanish to friends from South America and it has connected every time. Inspiring and prolific work as well as a great introduction for someone seeking to discover a reflection of his soul.
Demetri Broxton-Santiago
Jan 31, 2008 Demetri Broxton-Santiago rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
Neruda is HOT!!! If you love poetry, this man wrote some seriously prolific material. The translations in this book are some of the best I've seen -- though some of them I had to stop and think for a while, but they are probably really in alignment with Neruda's original Spanish verses.
عشق من، ما همدیگر را تشنه یافتیم
و سر کشیدیم هر آنچه که آب بود و خون،
ما همدیگر را گرسنه یافتیم و یکدیگر را به دندان کشیدیم
آنگونه که آتش می کند و زخم بر تنمان می گذارد.
اما در انتظار من بمان، شیرینی خود را برایم نگهدار.
من نیز به تو
گل سرخی خواهم داد.
my friend gave me this book to read on the greyhound to florida. apparently she fucked the translator. i had this mexican sitting across from me read me one of the poems in spanish. i about creamed myself although i had no idea what he was saying.
Jan 12, 2009 Madelyn rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: lovers, dreamers
Delicious, sensual poetry, in original Spanish and translation. The highest and lowest of love, the stars, the sea... I'd also recommend his "Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Sadness" - this collection includes some but not all of those poems.
I love that this book is bilingual, that I can read the poems in both Spanish and English.

Neruda is a master at his craft, no one can write like that anymore, not without sounding forced, or dated, or overly dramatic.
One of my best birthday presents this year! I will definitely be coming back to this translation over and over again. The dual translation is fantastic - and I keep pretending I can read the spanish page...
If you are someone who needs references of his darker poetry, this book may be useful to you. I don't regret reading this book, but I'm glad I read other collections of his poetry before this one.
Douglas Florian
What I like about this book: the Spanish is printed alongside the English translations.
What I don't like: the typeface is somewhat small.
What I love: the poems of Neruda.
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  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1987
  • Pablo Neruda: Absence and Presence
  • Collected Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
  • Selected Poems
  • Duino Elegies/The Sonnets of Orpheus
  • Refusing Heaven
  • Without End: New and Selected Poems
  • View With a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems
  • Time and Materials
  • Selected Poems, 1956-1968
  • The Selected Poetry
  • Selected Poems
  • Chronic
  • Sixty Poems
  • Love Poems of Elizabeth and Robert Browning
  • The Selected Poems
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...
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair The Poetry of Pablo Neruda 100 Love Sonnets The Captain's Verses (Los versos del capitan) (English and Spanish Edition) Residence on Earth

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“Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.”
“Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks"

All those men were there inside,
when she came in totally naked.
They had been drinking: they began to spit.
Newly come from the river, she knew nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way.
The insults flowed down her gleaming flesh.
Obscenities drowned her golden breasts.
Not knowing tears, she did not weep tears.
Not knowing clothes, she did not have clothes.
They blackened her with burnt corks and cigarette stubs,
and rolled around laughing on the tavern floor.
She did not speak because she had no speech.
Her eyes were the colour of distant love,
her twin arms were made of white topaz.
Her lips moved, silent, in a coral light,
and suddenly she went out by that door.
Entering the river she was cleaned,
shining like a white stone in the rain,
and without looking back she swam again
swam towards emptiness, swam towards death.”
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