David's Reviews > Selected Odes

Selected Odes by Pablo Neruda
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's review
Jul 08, 08

bookshelves: poetry
Read in June, 2008

Frankly, these poems should come off as completely trite. I mean, they're these long, rambling, effusive poems glowing with delight -- the kind of romantic stuff that should make a reader want to gag. And yet Neruda has such a gift for the ode -- his delight feels genuine, sincere, and somehow rigorous. In his "Ode to the Seagull" for example, he waxes rhapsodic for a while about the lightness of the bird and then acknowledges that the story doesn't end there -- that the seagull is also a greedy, voracious creature. What amazes him is how that rude hunger can become lightness. And so he doesn't see the world through rose-colored glasses so much as he has an excellent eye for those places in the world where there are indeed hidden roses.
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