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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star)show all reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2005
It's surprising to some (who call me grumpy!) but in my private time I love to settle down and read poetry. These "100 Love Sonnets," written in the 1950's by Neruda for his wife, are some of my favorites. I like Neruda because of his earthiness ("You sing and your voice peels the husk of the day's grain...") and his depiction of love in the middle of every day. This is not a love surrounded by fairies and cherubs. This is a love covered with dirt and sweat, of life and death, of getting up and of lying down. If your tastes run more toward `poetic' poetry (such as the English Romantics) you might find these poems too modern and rough. If you read Spanish there's a bonus here (or, if you're a Spanish speaker who reads English) as the poems are also published (side by side) with their original Spanish.

Love dragged its tail of pain,

Its train of static thorns behind it,

And we closed our eyes so that nothing,

So that no wound could divide us.

Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2006
Pablo Neruda is possible one of the truest masters of the written word. His poetry, ranging from affairs of the heart to affairs of state are always relevant and somehow touch you. Although the translation of Sonnet 17 done in this book isn't my favorite, the overall experience of the book is one that generally leaves you with the impression that Pablo Neruda was a man who felt things and felt them with a depth we can only hope to know... someday.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2008
Am reading through Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets for a second time. A lot of the Amazon customer reviews for this book mentioned that the translator, Stephen Tapscott, produced English versions laden with inaccuracies and liberties and errors. I must admit: I haven't studied Spanish since elementary school, but I think I can glean enough from the en face Spanish of Neruda's original language that I can safely agree with this assessment.

Tapscott routinely renders singulars as plurals, and plurals as singulars. The same Spanish word, "rocío," is rendered "dew" in one place and "soft rain" in another. In sonnet IX alone, we have "restless" for "indócil" (are restlessness and indocility the same thing?), and "dazzling lurch of the sea" for "deslumbrante movimiento marino."

Allowing for the fact that a translator must occasionally use synonyms and avoid cognates, is "lurch of the sea" really the best choice? The alliteration is lost, and the meaning is changed to something that, perhaps, Neruda would not want. "Marine movement" would be equally unacceptable; it is flat, and "movement" sounds a little odd. "Motion," perhaps? "Maritime motion." I'm not equipped to translate Spanish into an English that can be called poetry, but I'm fairly certain that "lurch" is a mistake, as it gives us more Tapscott than Neruda.

Having said all this, Tapscott is brave enough to give us Neruda's original sonnets, so we can compare Tapscott's English to the Nobel laureate's Spanish. It is perhaps inevitable that Tapscott would suffer in the comparison. And these translations, however flawed, do open up the Sonnets to those of us who are Spanish-impaired.

Some memorable lines:

sonnet 78, "Yo pagué la vileza con palomas" ("I repaid vileness with doves");

sonnet 81, "tus ojos se cerraron como dos alas grises" ("your eyes closed like two gray wings");

sonnet 84,
"una copa en que cae la ceniza celeste,
una gota en el pulso de un lento y largo río"

("a chalice filling with celestial ashes,
a drop in the pulse of a long slow river");

sonnet 100,
"Ya no habrá sino todo el aire libre,
las manzanas llevadas por el viento,
el suculento libro en la enramada,

"y allí donde respiran los claveles
fundaremos un traje que resista
la eternidad de un beso victorioso"

("There won't be anything but all the fresh air,
apples carried on the wind,
the succulent book in the woods:

"and there where the carnations breathe, we will begin
to make ourselves a clothing, something to last
through the eternity of a victorious kiss").

Five stars out of five for Neruda's sonnets, three stars for Tapscott's translations.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2005
I bought this collection and at first, I could not wait to read it. I was so excited that I almost pulled over to read it. As I read the translations, I began to notice errors and it completely ruined my high. Spanish in my first language so I noticed the errors right away. Some of the sonnets are done well, but the few that are not completely ruined my excitement. If you can read Spanish, you are lucky because you can read the original versions and get the complete emotional response. Over all, it's a good collection of love sonnets. Sure there not his best, but great other wise.
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on December 4, 2013
I would give it 5 stars but the translation takes away from the beauty of Pablo Neruda's incredible sonnets. If you understand Spanish, then think of it as 5 stars, but if you will rely on the English translation, then I recommend Google Translate to get the full depth of Neruda's artistry and simplicity.
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on January 7, 2013
Great to read on your own or whle cuddling withone next to you. Neruda has a way of captivating you with a single sentence.
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on November 6, 2013
Bought it as a gift for my then wife (now ex). Regrettably, I never saw her read it, or hear any appreciation.
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