September 2012 Meeting

Book Selection: The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 8:30 pm

Read any poetry by the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and come prepared to share your favorite poems.

Neruda is one of my favorite all time poets. I find myself regularly dipping into his many books. The first collection of his poetry I bought was Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems translated by Anthony Kerrigan, back in 1997. I was immediately taken by his lush, sensual verse. Over the years I have collected quite a few volumes of Neruda poetry. Unfortunately, over the years I have loaned out many of these collections and have never seen them again. Of course this is understandable—who could part with such powerful words. So, I have tried to replace some of those lost books. The great collection of love poems, The Captain’s Verses, is one of those collections that disappeared that I have yet to replace. A few weeks ago I was lamenting the loss of a couple other volumes, when my son overheard me and replied that he had lent them to a friend. They are now happily back on my book shelf.

One of my favorite collections is Extravagaria. I find myself returning to this book more than any other collection. I only wish I knew Spanish so I could read this wonderful stuff in the original.

For those that have not read Neruda before, I suggest perhaps starting with the slender volume Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair published very early in his career in 1924. It was this volume that really launched his career as a poet and provides a good though brief introduction to his work. I also recommend Stephen Mitchell’s excellent anthology, Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon: Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda and Kerrigan’s Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems. For the more ambitious, the anthology The Poetry of Pablo Neruda translated by Ilan Stavans is supposed to be excellent. At over 1000 pages it will give you a very complete look at the different poems he wrote throughout his life.

 

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2 Responses to September 2012 Meeting

  1. mollyfbell says:

    Please take a look at my blog post on Pablo Neruda. I believe we can all learn from his poetry and that we should be encouraged to perceive, as he did, the beauty of even the smallest and most lowly of objects.

    http://mollyfbell.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/ode-to-the-mundane/

    • cenminzhao says:

      Thanks for the comment. I agree, we need to slow down and really appreciate the simply things in life that make our lives rich and fulfilling, like matching socks, a bar of soap, the smooth wood floors beneath our feet, and the miracle of salt.

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