The Poetry of Pablo Neruda: You'll never find a better poet
By
Vincent Francone
1/23/2004 3:52:37 PM

By any account, Pablo Neruda is the finest poet to emerge from the 20th century. The question is up for debate as to whether he was the finest person ever to try his hand at the sublime art form. This goes not only for Latin America (for which he was considered an honorary spokesman via his verses, as well as an official ambassador for his native Chile), but the world over. To lift a line from an old beer commercial, you can search the world over and never find a better poet.

Seriously.

Evidence of this is now available in complete form. Make no mistake, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda [Farrar Straus & Giroux] is a tome. A complete collection of his work could be nothing but. Each of the classic books of verse (Residence on the Earth, Canto General, The Captain's Verses, and on and on...) is represented in one beautiful hardback edition that will not only look great on your book shelf but, unlike other big and impressive looking books, will be a constant joy each and every time you return to it. And return you should. No self-respecting lover of literature should have less than a few of these poems committed to memory.

To suggest that Neruda is the finest poet of any time is truly a bold thing to do, and something that can be argued. I make such a suggestion not to start an argument but simply to inspire anyone who is unaware of the passion and intensity of this writer to go and discover what the fuss is all about. From the gorgeous "Cuerpo de Mujer" to his classic "The Heights of Macchu Picchu", each poem unwinds and bends perfectly, forming an absolute and complete work of art. No one used the Spanish language like Neruda. Sadly, this collection offers only selected poems in the original tongue. This is indeed the only flaw and one grudgingly overlooked in favor of having all the poems in one handy volume.

Come to the fold; experience what some (I, of course, obviously) consider to be the most important, relevant and beautiful poems of any time.

 

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