Hp Tan's Reviews > The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems

The Essential Neruda by Pablo Neruda
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Aug 11, 11

bookshelves: poems, non-ya
Read from July 05 to August 11, 2011

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 think!): I love you as certain dark things are loved, in secret between the shadow and the soul. Too beautiful. Of course, I was sorely disappointed to see that in this book, the translation was different. Something like, I love you as certain obscure things are loved... I don't know, I always read it the way I first chanced upon the line. It seems that the translation in this book differs a little from.. I don't know.. mainstream Internet? Because when I searched 'I Can Write The Saddest Verses Tonight', mostly what came up was 'I Can Write The Saddest Lines Tonight'. Which, if you ask me, makes plenty of difference. Still, I did enjoy reading this book a lot. At first I tried to what the foreword advised: to, even though I knew nothing about Spanish, I should still read through the original Spanish verses because they were, apparently, just so beautiful I'd still be able to feel the beauty.

Let me just warn you in advance: NO. That's totally untrue. I know literally NOTHING about Spanish (as in, reading/speaking-wise) and really, reading the original lines did nothing much for me except make me very tired.

I took really long too, to finish this book, and even then, I'm pretty sure I only took away about 50% of the content. Some poems like Macchu Picchu, etc., were what I couldn't understand nor connect with. I did love most of his love poems though. They were exquisite, even the *cues snickers* "Carnal Apple, Woman Filled, Burning Moon".

Not a bad book for an introduction to Neruda, though there was definitely something lost in translation.
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