"The Power of Words: Pablo Neruda"

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The Power of Words: Pablo Neruda

Neftali Ricardo Reyes de Basoalto, later known as Pablo Neruda, was a contemporary poet from Chile, as well as a diplomat, communist party leader, and one of the few men responsible for shaping Latin America literature into what it is today. Neruda was a surrealist who revitalized everyday language and employed bold metaphors in free verse. He was greatly impressed with nature and natural phenomena such as death and regeneration. Intuition and the forces of instinct characterize and animate Neruda's highly personal style. He also had a fascination with the Chilean landscape, and it has been conjectured that Neruda's love and erotic prose is written with the countryside of his beloved homeland as an underlying theme. For these reasons many aspects of Pablo Neruda's life, but especially the rainforest and rural landscapes of Chile, affect and connect his poetic views of passion and love, in many different ways.

Neftali Ricardo Reyes de Basoalto was born on July 12, 1904, in Parral, a small village on the outskirts of the rainforest. His mother died one month after his birth, and soon after his father remarried and they moved to Temuco. Neftali loved his new home and his new 'mamadre', whom he later referred to as, "The Guardian angel of my childhood"(Neruda, Memoirs 2). Neftali's move profoundly affected his writing. In his autobiographical collection of poetry, Memorial de Isla Negre, he wrote of his feelings on this change:

From the ax and the rain it grew

the wooden town

freshly cut like

a new star with beads of resin

and the saw and the sierra

made love day and night



and the shrill sound of the cicada

raising a lament

in the stubborn solitude comes back

as my song. (1-12)

Pablo began reading and...