Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize Winner and Chile's Greatest Poet

Pablo Neruda is not a household name in the U.S., but he should be. The great Chilean poet would be 107 today, if we got the math right.

Neruda is better known in Latin America, of course, both for his poetry and his political activism. He was a great poet as well as a communist. The politics of his era have receded into the past, but Neruda's poetry remains as vivid and delicious as ever. No surprise that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.

The AltTulsa gang is especially fond of Neruda's love poetry, along with several million of other readers. Sometimes, we admit, Neruda's images (in the English translations) are so colorful and imaginative that we have trouble following his meaning(s).

On the other hand, that's one of the joys of Neruda's poems—taking in the music of his language and imagery and swirling it around in the mind's eye to see where it leads.

Happy birthday, Pablo. We'll toast to you by reading a love poem and sipping a glass of Chilean red wine. Friends and lovers everywhere still need you.

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