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Pablo Neruda - c. 1965 AKG London
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Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda, the internationally acclaimed Latin American poet, was born in 1904 in Parral, Chile. In 1920 he went to Santiago to study and published his first book of poems, La canción de la fiesta (1921); and his second collection, Crepusculario (1923), brought him instant recognition. In 1924 he published the enormously popular Veinte poemas de amor y una canción deseperada. From 1927 to 1945 he served as Chilean consul in Rangoon, Java and Barcelona, and was writing continuously.

Greatly influenced by events in the Spanish Civil War, Neruda joined the Communist Party after the Second World War, and his changed attitudes registered themselves in his poetry. From now on he regarded his poetry not as an elite pursuit but as a statement on human solidarity addressed to 'simple people'. Cano general (one part of which is The Heights of Macchu Picchu, translated by Nathaniel Tarn) is a poem of epic proportions, tracing the history of Latin America and evoking the grandeur of its landscapes. It also introduces political polemic. Always a prolific poet, Neruda continued to write poetry throughout the fifties and sixties, and in 1971 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Poetry. From 1970 to 1973 he served under Allende as Chilean ambassador to Paris.

Pablo Neruda died in 1973, shortly after the coup in Chile, which ousted Allende.

Nobel Prize for Literature

Author Image: Pablo Neruda - c. 1965 AKG London