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Odes to Common Things, Bilingual Edition Hardcover – May 1, 1994


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Odes to Common Things, Bilingual Edition + The Book of Questions (Kage-an Books) (Spanish Edition)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; Bilingual edition (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821220802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821220801
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation)
Original Language: Spanish

About the Author

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) is among the best-known, most widely read poets of the 20th century. Neruda won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. More than 35 volumes of his work are presently available in English. Ferris Cook created Remembered Gardens for Bulfinch Press (Spring 1993). She is an illustrator, editor, and writer with two other garden volumes to her credit. Ken Krabbenhoft is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Literature at NYUniversity (and Ferris Cook's husband).

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Customer Reviews

I enjoy comparing the Spanish and English.
Linda S Butler
Every time I pick up one of his books I'm startled back in to coherence.
Terri Fawn Howard
Neruda's words capture the quotidian beauty of life and love.
DaniT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Gatlin on July 8, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully illustrated collection of Pablo Neruda's Odes to Common Things. As a high school art teacher, this is one of the books I use to teach illustration, both by using the book's illustrations as a good example, and through the poetry, to have students see the variety of imagery available even in things they see every day. In particular, Ode to a Cat and Ode to Scissors are both playful and haunting.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ros Saciuk on January 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Odes to Common Things was written toward the end of Neruda's life, in a voice steeped in the wisdom of a life experienced in the greatest joys and horrors of the 20th century. When Neruda writes about a table, a chair, flowers, socks, or soap, these common things become more than everyday banal objects: they are transformed and elevated into metaphors, vehicles for the greater questions that haunt our lives, capturing the often overlooked beauty of everyday life, of the little things that we seem to remember only in our twilight.
Ken Krabbenhoft's translation is good, but often, as with other translations, it fails to capture the true spirit of the Spanish words (but not at his fault). It is for this reason I gave it four instead of five stars.
My personal favorites include: "Oda al Pan" (Ode to Bread); "Oda a la Cama" (Ode to the Bed); and, "Oda al Violin de California" (Ode to a Violin in California), perhaps because Neruda's inspiration may have come from walking the same shores that I too walk in barefoot pleasure.
--ross saciuk
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kibera on July 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
WOW. I've never been so moved by this book. As I began to read it, I sensed so many different things. How can such wonderful feelings be sensed by such common things. Pablo Neruda is a master in poetry. Im only 16 years old and I've never been so moved by such poetry. what an amazing man he was. it takes real gift to be able and write like that. This book really touched me, that sense and feeling in every line was enchanting. read this book, and you'll appreciate almost everything in life.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Terri Fawn Howard on January 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Pablo Neruda--the last great poet. Every time I pick up one of his books I'm startled back in to coherence. "Odes to Common Things" is no exception. His elevation of what you and I take for granted to entities of self-completeness is nothing short of brilliance. When I see a chair all I see is a place to plant my weary body, but with Neruda the chair is transformed into something wildly exotic, transcendent and magical. "Ode to the dictionary" will make you regret not using yours more. A tell-tale sign of reading profound poetry is an encroaching sense of self-disgust. I rarely fail to acheive this feeling when reading Neruda. So if you're in the mood to be simutaneously elevated and degraded, read "Ode to Common Things", a book that is anything but common.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Active Woman on August 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My son was tortured with some of these Ordinary Things poems in sixth grade and was asked why? Why did Pablo Neruda write about Ordinary Things? (A comprehension exercise, of course, at a time when it hadn't yet sunk into the 12 year old brain that comprehension is about finding answers in the text, even if you know the true answers, even if you are Pablo Neruda himself - you must find the answer in the text.
Well, my son had had a bad morning that day, and the teacher did not comprehend the minds of 12 year old boys and he had had enough already with the poems. "How the heck am I supposed to know why he wrote about what he wrote about" was not well received. Apologies followed from student and parents for the disrespect.
I mention this only to say that beauty gifted before its time, beauty forced upon the unreadied mind, beauty imparted by a mind guided only by their own perceptions of beauty does nothing to foster and develop young minds.
Please go gently when preparing young minds to receive these and other treasures of our civilization.
We talked later as parent and child about why poets write about what they write about? Why did Wordsworth write about daffodillies? Why Blake about the Tiger? Why Neruda about ordinary things. And we enjoyed a lovely walk and lovely curiosity about the worlds these once little boys, just like mine, grew up in. Did they dive into the maple leaves that my son so loved? Did they gaze upon sail ships racing in the Bay as he did on summer evenings?
Now he wanted to know why? Why Ordinary THings?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Belson on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I cannot be without this book. It gives one all there could be to know about love and life. It is well worth its cost and leaves the reader that much smarter about everything that matters in love (and life)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Melissa B. Allen on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Neruda's use of language is truly sensual, in both English and Spanish. I must read for word lovers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By glass gardener on August 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The night I received this book I went to a Leonard Cohen party where we listened/sang/played to his songs. He has some incredible lyrics. We talked about what a poet he is. The next night I was done with my dinner and my husband was still eating so I picked up the book and started reading to him. About the third page or so I suddenly burst into tears and just could not continue. The words of Odes to Common Things are so simple and so true and hit me right in the solar plexus. I highly recommend it.
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