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The Poetry of Pablo Neruda Paperback – March 24, 2005


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The Poetry of Pablo Neruda + The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (Bilingual Edition) (English and Spanish Edition) + Love Poems (New Directions Paperbook)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (March 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374529604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374529604
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The great Chilean poet Neruda, who received the Nobel Prize in 1971, two years before his death at age 69, acknowledged the twofold path of his poetry when he wrote, "I have a pact of love with beauty: / I have a pact of blood with my people." The earth's glory was the portal to truth for Neruda, and his nature poems are as ravishing in the splendor of their brilliant metaphors and the eroticism of their luscious detail as his renowned love poems. The poet's deep compassion for humankind, ardor for history, and attention to politics also inspired him to write incisively of conquistadors and tyrants, war and corporate imperialism. Passionate and prolific, Neruda himself was a force of nature, filling 35 books with poetry remarkable for its "simplicity, honesty, and conviction." Critic Ilan Stavans has created the first comprehensive English-language survey of Neruda's legendary oeuvre, judiciously selecting and expertly discussing 600 poems to create a genuinely invaluable and deeply pleasurable volume. Major works are presented in the original Spanish in this literary landmark, and the adept translators include such outstanding poets as Martin Espada, Jane Hirshfield, W. S. Merwin, and Mark Strand. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

 "Not since Whitman has a poet of genius embraced a whole continent, as Neruda has his, or spoken so directly to the nonpoets among his readers."—Selden Rodman

"Ambitious . . . Meticulously edited . . . Stavans deserves high praise for the volume he has assembled."—John Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle

"The Poetry of Pablo Neruda advertises itself as 'the most comprehensive single volume available in English'—and it certainly is."—Charles Simic, The New York Review of Books

"The greatest poet of the twentieth century—in any language."—Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 
"[This book provides] an opportunity to reflect on the poet's achievement and his canonical position."—Christopher Winks, The Harvard Review

"If, as Stavans believes, 30 years after his death the time is right for a reappraisal of Neruda, then this volume is just what's needed to jump-start the process. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
 
"Critic Ilan Stavans has created the first comprehensive English-language survey of Neruda's legendary oeuvre, judiciously selecting and expertly discussing 600 poems to create a genuinely invaluable and deeply pleasurable volume."—Booklist

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this volume for anyone who wants a comprehensive book of his English.
Publicagent
This is a really nice collection of poetry from one of the most respected poets of the 20th Century.
lefez
It is written in an elegant belles lettres style with translation into the Spanish language.
Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By sylviaplath79 on June 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was very excited for this book, hoping to fill in gaps of my Neruda collection. but after reading it I was frustrated and disappointed, not only in the quality of many of the translations and the lack of the Spanish there next to the English, but I feel the editor left out many important poems while putting in a lot of Neruda's weaker work. It was clunky. I found a review in the New York Book Review on the web by the poet Charles Simic which explains my thoughts perfectly:

"As one would expect from an undertaking aiming to be so comprehensive in scope, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda is an uneven book. There are first-rate translations by John Felstiner, Margaret Sayers Peden, Jack Schmitt, Greg Simon, Alastair Reid and a dozen others alongside many mediocre ones. I'm not competent to judge the accuracy of individual translations, but I can compare their quality as poems since there are previous renderings of the same poems which seem to me far superior to the ones we have here. For instance, neither of the two versions of "Walking Around" in this book are as good as the one I quoted by H.R. Hays, or the one W.S. Merwin did years ago. As their worst, the translations do not convey the stylistic range and verbal integunity of the original, making Neruda sound instead like a Chilean Carl Sandburg.

The choice of poems is also at times debatable. In order to make the book representative of all of Neruda's work, Stavans has left out some well-known poems and included plenty of questionable ones..."

A missed opportunity. Una lastima.
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While a beautiful anthology, I was very disappointed to find that it is not a complete bilingual edition. There is a sampling of *some* of the original poems in Spanish, but if you are looking for a side-by-side reading this is not it. In all fairness, Ilan Stavans presents a formidable compilation of Neruda's poems, and several translations of one poem are included for comparison (demonstrating the art of translation), but if you are looking for Neruda's poems in the original Spanish look elsewhere.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Javier Lopez on November 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I had never read Pablo Neruda's poetry before until my girlfriend gave me this book for my birthday. I loved it! The early romantic poems are amazing. I also loved the way the Chilean poet wrote about his own country and about poverty and repression in Latin America. The reader gets a sense of history through an artistic viewpoint. There are plenty of poems in this excellent collection and the translations are really good. I think the editor did a great job. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dallas Fawson on June 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was incredibly excited to get a hardcover of this at a thrift store, in nearly brand new condition, for fifty cents. Why someone threw it away I have no idea.
And while it's a large selection and for the most part is very good, it has some issues, first and foremost, inconsistency in translations. Since the book has dozens of translators throughout, it's going to be hit and miss. Fortunately, it's mostly hit, but I was sad to see that "Ode to Enchanted Light," one of my favorite Neruda poems, was butchered in the translation. There are a few other duds throughout, translators who knew nothing of Neruda or his flow.
Some people have complained that it isn't side by side bilingual, but this isn't too much of a problem for me. While it would be nice, it would also cause the book to be over 2,000 pages, and it's already huge.
My final thought is that while it's not perfect, it's a good book. I certainly wouldn't pay $40 for it (the hardback cover price), but buying a paperback or a used hardback would be a good move for lovers of Neruda.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daryl on December 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Neruda knew how to love a woman. There's such a sensuous, tactile quality to his poetry that makes you think he just might have been one hell of a lover. And mixed in with this earthy prose is an appreciation for the subtle, fleeting moments that last only in quick impressions and memories of wanting and desire. In one moment he tells us of the heavy weight and feel as he cups the rounded breasts of his mistress and the next he sighs his longing for the ability to devour the parts of her that linger in his memory whole. Truly the love poet for the modern age :

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent, starving I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disquiets me,
I search the liquid sound of your steps all day.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
For your hands the color of the wild grain,
I hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your loveliness,
The nose, sovereign of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

And I walk hungry, smelling the twilight
Looking for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barren wilderness.

One thing I will say about this particular copy though is that while it is certainly the most comprehensive edition available to English speakers, it is not, perhaps, the best translated. Kudos to the editors for managing to put it all together though - and I do believe credit is due for not sticking to one translator for the whole thing. However when comparing certain works against others it becomes apparent that not all translators do their transcribing equally. Oh well, I suppose you have to go with what's available to you at the time. Obviously not all my favorites have done every single poem and I do appreciate the effort to use the superior translation when available.
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