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The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by…
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The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (edition 2004)

by Pablo Neruda (Author), Mark Eisner (Author), John Felstiner (Author), Alastair Reid (Author), Stephen Mitchell (Author)

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664524,780 (4.33)26
This collection presents fifty of the most essential poems by one of history's greatest poets in dynamic new translations, the result of an unprecedented collaboration among a team of poets, translators, and the world's leading Neruda scholars. A definitive selection that draws from the entire breadth of Neruda's various styles, themes, and periods, The Essential Neruda breathes new life and understanding into the work of one of Latin America's -- and the world's -- treasures. This collection of Neruda's most essential poems will prove indispensable. Selected by a team of poets and prominent Neruda scholars in both Chile and the U.S., this is a definitive selection that draws from the entire breadth and width of Neruda's various styles and themes. An impressive group of translators that includes Alistair Reid, Stephen Mitchell, Robert Haas, Jim Harrison, Stephen Kessler and Jack Hirschman, have come together to revisit or completely retranslate the poems; and a handful of previously untranslated works are included as well. This selection sets the standard for a general, high--quality introduction to Neruda's complete oeuvre. Pablo Neruda was born in Chile in 1904. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.… (more)
Member:MMKY
Title:The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems
Authors:Pablo Neruda (Author)
Other authors:Mark Eisner (Author), John Felstiner (Author), Alastair Reid (Author), Stephen Mitchell (Author)
Info:City Lights Publishers (2004), Edition: Bilingual, 200 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda

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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
3 stars for the publication, not the poet. I love Bloodaxe, but what is going on with that font.

The facing page translations are appreciated, and the translations themselves are mostly good (though not, in my view, worthy of the 5 stars being thrown around here). ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Apr 29, 2020 |
This collection of Pablo Neruda's poetry does have some good selections, but for some reason it didn't resonate with me as much as I had expected. I think perhaps the overall cohesiveness of the book was lacking, or the translations lacked immediacy, or it could just be that I struggled to get into the right frame of mind to engage with it. That said, it was still a very enjoyable read and I particularly liked 'Ode with a Lament', 'And Then on the Ladder', 'The Potter', 'Ode to the Book', 'Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks', 'Poet's Obligation', 'The People', 'Those Lives' and 'October Fullness'. But if someone wants an easy introduction to Neruda, I'd suggest going with Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair instead, though The Essential Neruda does capture the poet's political consciousness which is lacking in Twenty Love Poems, particularly in that amazing ode to the common man, 'The People'. ( )
  Mike_F | Jun 3, 2016 |
A new collection of Neruda poems with some new translations. I loved the introduction to this collection. The editor describes how he came about with the idea of creating a book with new and updated translations of Neruda. This book was a work of love by the editor...the love of Neruda, the love of the Spanish language, the love of poetry.

My favorite books of Neruda are those with dual translations (Spanish on one side and English on the facing page). Although my Spanish is fairly limited, there is something magical about seeing Neruda's words in their original language.

I enjoyed the cross-section of poems that the editor selected and have only one complaint that I would have liked to see the poems were not separated in sections, perhaps by publishing dates/books they were originally published in/themes.

This would be a great addition to anyone's Neruda collection or a wonderful introduction to someone new to Neruda. ( )
  jsamaha | Mar 14, 2014 |
According to the Poetry Foundation, Pablo Neruda was born Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto in southern Chile on July 12, 1904. He led a life charged with poetic and political activity. In 1923 he sold all of his possessions to finance the publication of his first book, Twilight, which was issued under the pseudonym "Pablo Neruda" to avoid conflict with his family, who disapproved of his occupation. The following year, he found a publisher for Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. The book made a celebrity of Neruda, who gave up his studies at the age of twenty to devote himself to his craft. In 1939, he was named Chilean Consul to Mexico. Upon returning to Chile in 1943, he was elected to the Senate but was expelled for his leftist political views, and he went into hiding. In 1952 Neruda returned to Chile, and for the next twenty-one years, he continued a career that integrated private and public concerns and became known as the people's poet. During this time, Neruda received numerous prestigious awards, including the International Peace Prize in 1950, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Forty years ago, on September 23, 1973, the man widely regarded as one of the greatest Latin-American poets, died of leukemia in Santiago, Chile.

I have come to love and reread and read again so many of his poems, picking a representative sample is difficult. One of my favorites comes from his second book, Twenty Love Poems, ”Leaning into the Evenings.” “Leaning into the evenings I throw my sad nets to your ocean eyes. // There my loneliness stretches and burns in the tallest bonfire, / arms twisting like a drowning man’s. // I cast red signals over your absent eyes / which lap like the sea at the lighthouse shore. // You guard only darkness, my distant female, / sometimes the coast of dread emerges from your stare. // Leaning into the evenings I toss my sad nets / to that sea which stirs your ocean eyes. // The night birds peck at the first stars / that twinkle like my soul as I love you. // Night gallops on her shadowy mare / scattering wheat stalks over the fields.” // (5).

New York Times Book Review critic Selden Rodman wrote, “No writer of world renown is perhaps so little known to North Americans as Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.” New York Review of Books critic John Leonard wrote, Neruda “was, I think, one of the great ones, a Whitman of the South.”

Several writers claim Neruda is difficult to translate, and what has appeared in English represents only a small portion of his work. Others criticize him for his leftist views. Ignore his politics, and bathe yourself in his verse. Here is a brief excerpt from “Poetry,” “And it was at that age … poetry arrived / in search of me. I don’t know how, I don’t know where / it came from, from winter or a river / I don’t know how or when, / no, they weren’t voices, they were not / words, nor silence, / but from a street it called me, / from the branches of the night, / abruptly from the others, / among raging fires / or returning alone, / there it was, without a face, / and it touched me // (167). Read The Essential Neruda and let Pablo Neruda touch your heart. You will be forever changed. 5 stars.

--Jim, 9/20/13 ( )
  rmckeown | Sep 21, 2013 |
Being a fan of Pablo Neruda's poetry, I wanted to get my hands on The Essential Neruda to take a look at more of his work. After reading Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, I fell in love with the poet.

The Essential Neruda contains 50 of Neruda's poems, not all of them about love.
I enjoyed this collection, a few of my favorites are in here, such as I Can Write the Saddest Lines, Leaning into the Afternoons and I Like For You To Be Still.
I did find the translation to be slightly different from the poems in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, due to the different translators. I love reading Neruda's work in Spanish, it is painfully beautiful.
There is definitely something lost in translation, the feel of the work is a bit different when read in English. The words flow better in it's original Spanish text. I'm a sucker for sad poetry about love and heartache.

Though Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair remains my favorite collection of Neruda's poetry, I'm glad I read The Essential Neruda. I got to experience more of the poets work.
How can you not love Neruda's way with words?

Body of my woman, I will persist in your grace.
My thirst, my infinite anguish, my indecisive path!
Dark riverbeds where eternal thirst follows,
and fatigue follows, and infinite sorrow.
-excerpt from Body of woman

There is also a poem in this collection called Ode With A Lament, that he wrote while his daughter was gravely ill. This one brought a tear to my eye.

Only with kisses and red poppies can I love you,
with rain-soaked wreaths
contemplating ashen horses and yellow dogs.
Only with waves at my back can I love you...

There's just so much beautiful and moving poetry in this collection, I can't possibly fit it all into one post. So I'll definitely continue posting his work regulary at my blog like I have been. I've gotten some great feedback on those posts and it makes me happy to see others enjoying Neruda's work as well. ( )
1 vote bookworm_naida | Sep 2, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pablo Nerudaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eisner, MarkEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Neruda, Pablomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Felstiner, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferlinghetti, LawrenceForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gander, ForrestTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hass, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hirschman, JackTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kessler, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reid, AlastairTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Indzhov, NikolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On our earth, before writing was invented, before the printing press was invented, poetry flourished.  That is why we know that poetry is like bread, it should be shared by all, by scholars and by peasants, by all our vast, incredible, extraordinary family of humanity. - Pablo Neruda
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Body of woman, white hills, white thighs, you look like the world in your attitude of giving.
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This collection presents fifty of the most essential poems by one of history's greatest poets in dynamic new translations, the result of an unprecedented collaboration among a team of poets, translators, and the world's leading Neruda scholars. A definitive selection that draws from the entire breadth of Neruda's various styles, themes, and periods, The Essential Neruda breathes new life and understanding into the work of one of Latin America's -- and the world's -- treasures. This collection of Neruda's most essential poems will prove indispensable. Selected by a team of poets and prominent Neruda scholars in both Chile and the U.S., this is a definitive selection that draws from the entire breadth and width of Neruda's various styles and themes. An impressive group of translators that includes Alistair Reid, Stephen Mitchell, Robert Haas, Jim Harrison, Stephen Kessler and Jack Hirschman, have come together to revisit or completely retranslate the poems; and a handful of previously untranslated works are included as well. This selection sets the standard for a general, high--quality introduction to Neruda's complete oeuvre. Pablo Neruda was born in Chile in 1904. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

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Neruda's poems

Herein scaling rapture's heights

Spanish and English :-)

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