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The Book of Questions

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  3,423 ratings  ·  521 reviews
A best-selling volume of Pablo Neruda's poetry in an English-Spanish edition.

Pablo Neruda is one of the world's most popular and famous poets, and in The Book of Questions, Neruda refuses to be corralled by the rational mind. Composed of 316 unanswerable questions, these poems integrate the wonder of a child with the experiences of an adult. By turns Orphic, comic, surreal
...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Copper Canyon Press (first published 1974)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
El libro de las Preguntas = Libro de las Preguntas = The Book of Questions‬‭, Pablo Neruda

Brief poems by the Nobel Prize-winner, Completed only months before his death in 1973.

Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973), better known by his pen name and, later, legal name Pablo Neruda, was a Chilean poet-diplomat and politician.

Neruda became known as a poet when he was 10 years old, and wrote in a variety of styles, including surrealist poems, historical epics, ove
...more
Steven Godin
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chile-peru, poetry
Pablo Neruda only finished 'The Book of Questions' months before his death in September 1973.
With it's composition, he comes full circle as both a human being and writer. The poet existed in waters that no one else could swim in, flowing in all directions, from the sun-kissed surface that flirted with the waves, to the dark-hearted Abyss that lies below. This collection follows the same common source of all his work, re-visiting that deep well of perpetuity, the imagination of regeneration and v
...more
Ammara Abid
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book asks heart-wrenching questions in every prose &
I loved it wholeheartedly. ♡ Absolutely brilliant questioning poetry which hit you hard,
hit you hard in the core of your heart, blown your mind & in the end made you think.

Hold on,
Hold on,

This book is a gem so how can I let it go without adding my favorite lines here,


Is it true our desires
must be watered with dew?



Do tears not yet spilled
wait in small lakes?
Or are they invisible rivers
that run toward sadness?



Is it true that sadness i
...more
Jareed
You don’t want to answer me.
But the questions do not die.

-(Neruda, 1924)


The Book of Questions is a collection of 316 questions that compose the 74 poems. 316 questions which no rational answers exists, says the introductory part of my copy. No rational answers may exist for these questions, but the rational mind will strive beyond conventions to grasp its meanings. If you will ruminate on this 74 poems, one will find that some answers do exist, albeit spiritual and mercurial answers validate
...more
Katia N
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Por que se queda en los ramajes
hast que las hojas se caen?
Y donde se quedan colgados
sus pantalones amarillos?
Verdad que parece esperar
el otono que pase algo?
Tal vez el temblor de una hoje
o el transito del universo?
Hay un iman bajo la tierra,
iman hermano del otono?
Cuando se dicta bajo tierra
le designacion de la rosa?

Why does it linger at the branches
until the leaves fall?
And where are its yellow trousers
left hanging?
Is it true that autumn seems to wait
for something to happen?
Perhaps the trembling
...more
Muhammad Arqum
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
In France, where does spring get so many leaves?

Why do trees conceal the splendor of their roots?

Where is the child I was, still inside me or gone?
Does he know that I never loved him and that he never loved me?
Why did we spend so much time · growing up only to separate?
Why did we both not die when my childhood died?
And why does my skeleton pursue me if my soul has fallen away?

Is there anything in the world sadder than a train standing in the rain?

Does a word sometimes slither like a serpe
...more
Manzoid
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
316 questions posed by the great poet just months before his death. I found more than 70 of them worth copying into my journal, and I'm not particularly compulsive about things like that. Reading them, you will probably find yourself transported to an especially thoughtful and unusual frame of mind.

Here are some personal favorites (spaced widely to try to preserve some measure of the original pacing):




Is it true that in an anthill, dreams are duty?




Am I allowed to ask my book whether it's true I w
...more
Rich
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Simply hilarious. The great Chilean poet wrote a book of nothing but strange, bizarre questions, like:

Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?

Why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?

Who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?

Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?

Many of them would make for great prompts for writing exercises.
Sunny
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I thought this was a classy little act of a book of short snippets of poetry. I’ve read a few of his poetry books before and I like the dude. In this very short book Pablo posits lots of interesting hypothetical scenarios. It reminded me of Samuel Butler’s Erewhon where the children in this utopian society are required to attend lessons where they are encouraged to think about the art of the possible. So what would you get if you were able to mix a donkey with an apple? The poetry here is quite ...more
Sylvester
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes your brain gets on a tangent and you see that idea or concept popping up everywhere. I've been on a brain-tangent for a while now - about questions. The idea that we all want answers to our questions, especially now, in the information/technology age. We think there must be answers. There must be a conclusion to every story, every problem a solution. So I've begun to wonder why. Could it be that in fact the answers are more questions? Or better questions? That the wonder of life might ...more
Issa
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Is it true our desires
must be watered with dew?
berlinbyovernight
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Who ordered me to tear down
the doors of my own pride?
Mehrnoosh yousefi
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
And does the father who lives in your dreams
die again when you awaken?
Deea
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who wonder about the mysteries of the world
Shelves: nobel, poetry
4.5*
It's incredible how poetic these questions are!
S. Mehdi
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: primary, poetry
Is there anything sillier in life
than to be called Pablo Neruda? (XXXII)

How many questions does a cat have? (VIII)


If I have died and don’t know it
of whom do I ask the time? (II)


Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?

Why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?

Who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?

Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain? (III)


Why do leaves commit suicide
when they feel yellow? (V)


Where is the child I was,
still inside me o
...more
Steve Scott
Nov 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
These poems are supposed to be approached indirectly...intuitively, like a zen koan.

Sorry. Doesn't work for me. I'm not going to assume the affectation required to pretend to understand these.

That said, some of these aren't beyond my appreciation:

Where is the child I was, still inside me or gone?
Does he know that I never loved him and that he never loved me?
Why did we spend so much time growing up only to separate?
Why did we both not die when my childhood died?
And why does my skeleton pursue me
...more
Lastoadri
Aug 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, 2014
"Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?"
Ghada Muthana
It's still my only wish to read those books in their original languages :'(
Stefanie
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
These poems are composed of nothing but questions that are frequently nonsense that makes perfect sense.
VI
Why does the hat of night
fly so full of holes?

What does old ash say
when it passes near the fire?

Why do clouds cry so much
growing happier and happier?

For whom do the pistils of the sun burn
in the shadow of the eclipse?

How many bees are there in a day?


They are like little Zen koans that ask us to look beyond the status quo and expectations, to use our imagination, to see differently and allow
...more
Nick
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Where is the child I was,
Still inside me or gone?

Do we learn kindness
Or the mask of kindness?

Now that the bones are gone
Who lives in the final dust?

If you've never asked yourself Neruda's questions, it's not too late.
Hadi Ali
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to recover from the blows of this collection of questions in a short time. They are the questions which we would rather not ask, let alone dwell upon them attempting to answer. Consider the following ones, for example:

In the end, won’t death
be an endless kitchen?

What will your disintegrated bones do,
search once more for your form?

Will your destruction merge
with another voice and other light?

Will your worms become part
of dogs or butterflies?


And

Will Czechoslovakians or turtles
be born
...more
David
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another gem in the fine series by Copper Canyon Press. However this book is unique as all the 74 poems in this book are questions. Each poem is typically constructed on three to five stanzas with each stanza asking questions on the theme of that poem. Sometimes each stanza can stand on its own. such as: Why doesn't Thursday talk itself into coming after Friday? or How do we measure the foam that slips from the beer? Some poems cross into the next poem. All are intriguing, funny, pondering and of ...more
Barbara Lovejoy
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I had read this bilingual book a number of years ago but wanted to read it again after reading The Dreamer. I love the questions Neruda asks in poetry style in this book! These questions would be a great starting point in getting students (and educators, too!) to write similar kinds of questions.
Mashail Faqeeh
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
At the end of the book I felt as if I just read my own thoughts. Some questions leave you really frustrated I honestly loved this book
Karen Hood
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I love Neruda and this book of questions is a short read but inspirational. I recommend this book to everyone as an enjoyable and insightful read,
Stephen
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This felt a bit too gimmicky. There were scattered strong moments, and he made me rethink what poetry can be. I look forward to reading some of his more famous earlier work.
Mark Ward
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmno

(two stars not one as one of rhe questions inspired a poem)
Ville Verkkapuro
How come I didn’t understand how great book this is when I read it again now, 15 years later?
How come everyone is not talking about this book all the time?
Is this the most perfect book of all time?
Michael Bazzett
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is no better book to read in a hammock. You'll spend half the time with the book in your lap, staring up at the tree limbs and clouds...
Nathan Albright
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge2017
As a fond reader of poetry [1], I wasn't sure what to expect from this book.  To be sure, Pablo Neruda was a leftist Chilean poet, and this book was written late in life, so one does not know quite what to expect.  What one finds here is deeply interesting.  There is a genre of song where people ask questions, and some of them end up being of interest largely or only to the author.  At times these songs receive a great deal of ridicule, like those by ICP and Jadakiss, who were thought to have go ...more
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Research paper 1 1 Dec 11, 2018 06:46AM  

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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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