Nobel Prize Winners discussion

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1961-1980 > 1971: Pablo Neruda

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message 1: by Cl. (last edited Mar 02, 2011 06:12AM) (new)

Cl. | 43 comments Neruda is the sort of person of whom one thinks when typically thinking of a poet or an artist. A ‘bon vivant’. A man of large appetites. Passionate. Generous. Argumentative. A womanizer. Lover of fine wines, premium liquor and gourmet repasts. Up all night talking and entertaining. Embracing life, all people, the earth in all its manifestations.

One of my favourite poems is an ode to his socks. Whimsical, appreciative to the person who knit them for him; it made me smile. I love how artists can present ordinary things in an extraordinary way.

Pablo is an excellent introduction to the Latin American poets and writers of his era, as he was friends with most of them, including fellow Nobel winners Gabriela Mistral (1945) and Octavio Paz (1990).

Like many of the Latin American poets who have been translated and are known internationally, Neruda served as a diplomat for his country (Chile) ending his diplomatic days in Paris. He was an outspoken critic of the abuses of power in his country; as well as a politician, serving as a senator.

Pablo’s journey in the Communist party, from joining in Spain at the time of the civil war; sharing the hopes and dreams of many in the Soviet experiment; to the chagrin and disbelief in the revelations of abuses under Stalin—Neruda is, I think, typical of how many intellectuals who embraced Communism internationally, hoped and dreamed and worked for a better world.

He helped me understand how dangerous it once was to be a Communist. (He had to live in hiding for a year and escape his own country via the Andes into Argentina.) And, in a way I hadn’t understood before, how much US interests intervened in the politics of nearly every Latin American country—democracy or dictatorship. (Which to be fair, as did also, the British, Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese in earlier eras, attempting world domination to protect international trade interests—will it ever stop?)

His poetry output is prodigious—if at times uneven. He lived and wrote “full on”.

Reading Neruda has led me to reading many other Latin American poets and authors: Ruben Dario (Nicaragua); Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina); Cesar Vallejo (Peru); Nicolas Guillen (Cuba); Sara de Ibanez (Uruguay); Octavio Paz (Mexico); Gabriela Mistral(Chile)—to name a few. And interestingly, many of these poets have been inspired by Walt Whitman; so I shall have to reacquaint myself with him as well.

All in all, reading about Neruda, his work and life, has launched me on a journey of enjoyment and education regarding Latin American literature, history and politics. Who knows? I may take up learning Spanish and finally travel there!


message 2: by Cl. (new)

Cl. | 43 comments Hi. Yes, I have seen Il Postino.

Although, at the time I viewed it in the mid '90s, I didn't know about Neruda. This morning I watched a couple of clips on YouTube and see, yes, Neruda is in it, helping the postman with his romance.

In his biography of Neruda, Feinstein suggests that the premise of the film is taken from Pablo's life, when he was staying on the island of Capri with his lover (and soon to be third wife) Matilde; prior to returning to Chile following a three year exile.

I remember the film as being sweet, touching...I shall have to watch it again. Beautiful soundtrack as well.

Thank you for joining the dots for me on that.


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