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100 Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor (Texas Pan American Series) (English and Spanish Edition) Reissue Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0292760288
ISBN-10: 0292760280
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you've ever wished for a fresh and imaginative way of saying "I love you" to your beloved, peruse Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets. This intimate bilingual collection overflows with the master poet's signature sensuality and inventive imagery. Written in the 1950s for his cherished wife Matilde Urrutia, Neruda's earnest adoration leaps off the page in poem after poem: "Your heart is a clay toy shaped like a dove"; "Your kisses are clusters of fruit, fresh with dew." Thanks to translator Stephen Tapscott, Neruda's dreamy images carry over vividly from the Spanish and dance in the mind for days after they're read.

Neruda pays only loose tribute to the sonnet by employing a 14-line structure for each poem. As he says, his sonnets are made of wood, rather than the "silver, or crystal, or cannonfire" of a more refined sonnet. Neruda's humility is apparent as he refers again and again to the natural landscape of Isla Negra (the Pacific island where he and his wife lived) to describe his simple dedication to Matilde: "...I am like a scorched rock / that suddenly sings when you are near, because it drinks / the water you carry from the forest, in your voice."

Journeying from the erotic celebration of the body to the spiritual depths of eternal union, 100 Love Sonnets shows why "two happy lovers make one bread" and "waking, they leave one sun empty in their bed."

From Library Journal

Neruda (the 1971 Nobel Prize winner) wrote these passionate and imaginative sonnets in 1955-57 for Matilde Urrutia, his third wife. Divided into four lush sectionsMorning, Afternoon, Evening, and Nightthey mingle the pure ardor of the Song of Solomon with the extravagant conceits of Renaissance lyricism. Throughout, Matilde is the speaker's erotic microcosm"Kiss by kiss I travel your little infinity,/your borders, your rivers, your tiny villages"but the mountainous terrain of Neruda's "savage homeland" lends a colorful surrealism to the lovers' intimacy. This capably translated work would enhance any collection of contemporary Latin American poetry. Frank Allen, Assoc. Dean, Continuing Education, Allentown Coll., Center Valley, Pa.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Texas Pan American Series
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; Reissue edition (January 1, 1986)
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 0292760280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292760288
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I hate to rain on everyone's parade but Stephen Tapscott's translation of Pablo Neruda's evocative and beautiful poetry is crass, misleading and patronizing. It is an insult to the memory of a great poet and a disgrace to translation in general. I have read the collection several times and it angers me each time to see what this man has done to poetry that is subtle as it is open ended. Every single poem in this collection is manipulated my Mr. Tapscott. He constantly replaces words when perfect English equivalents are available. He changes the tenses in which the poems are written and inserts his own concepts when he deems necessary. Worst of all he "explains" the poems in his translation. Time and again Tapscott fails to see the beauty of an ambiguity intended by Neruda and procedes to write phrases that are one dimensional and often fail to convey even the basic core of the work. As to the sound and rythm of the collection, Tapscott goes out of his way to destroy the structure of the poems and their gentle flow. It is a shame that English speakers interested in Pablo Neruda's poetry have only this translation by which to judge his genius. Please save your money and wait for a translation that better represents these great poems.
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By A Customer on June 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
"100 Love Sonnets" was my introduction to Pablo Neruda, and I have to say these are some of the most beautiful poems that I have ever read. I'm not a huge poetry fan, and so I was amazed that I read all the poems all the way through in one sitting. Anyone who has ever loved someone will feel these poems flow though their soul. Anyone who has ever tried to write a love poem, this is the standard by which they are judged.
The sonnets are presented in the original Spanish, and translated to English by Stephen Tapscott. Tapscott should be commended for translating the poems without them losing any power or beauty.
Reading these poems isn't enough, they need to be read aloud. The Spanish (even with a mangled accent like mine) is very lyrical and beautiful. I've found that reading the English, so I understand the poem better, helps me to read the Spanish with the proper passion they deserve.
If you're even the slightest bit romantic, this book should be in your home. I don't own any other poetry books, but I will never lose my copy of "100 Love Sonnets"
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Format: Paperback
I do not read Spanish, and so, I cannot tell the quality of Stephen Tapscott's translation. I cannot tell how much was lost from Neruda's original poems in their power. I cannot tell what was lost in their linguistics. I can say that each poem in this collection is absolutely beautiful. I have not been a great poetry reader for very long (I'm eighteen), but in the last year, I have read thousands of poems. Pablo Neruda's poems in translation are absolutely my favorites. These one hundred sonnets rank as highly with the other gorgeous translations that I have read. The poems in this book are all very freely written sonnets. Almost all that survives from the sonnets original form is the number of lines. Each poem is powerful, and Neruda is marvelous at pouring himself and his feelings for his wife into each. My favorite poem is certainly the seventeenth. Fans of Neruda's other poetry should enjoy this edition (as should fans of any great poetry), and I do hope that translations continue to be printed in the hope that Neruda will be done justice. I also hope that I can one day learn Spanish well enough to understand these sonnets in their original language.
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Format: Paperback
I am very sad to report that this volume, the only volume I know of the 100 Love Sonnets, is poorly translated. I've owned it for a while, and always wondered why it never seemed powerful like Neruda's other works. So, I started translating them myself, and realized that Tapscott made some remarkable errors, and seems always to have chosen the least likely translation of words and idioms, and the least poetic phrasing. In many poems the sense is so far removed from the original, that I am reminded of those one-page instruction manuals that used to come with Chinese-manufactured products many years ago.
For example: A trail crossing a meteor shower becomes "a streak of a meteor through rain."
"Through that name run wooden vessels" (think of a play on veins, and ships, which later pour into his heart) becomes "Wooden ships sail through that name."
"but leave me there in your name to sail and to sleep," becomes "only let me steer like a ship through your name; let me rest there."
"the lonely trains follow rolling down with the rain" becomes "rolling with the rain we follow the tracks alone."
These are not isolated occurances; this is a pattern that seems to prevail throughout every poem I've checked so far. Poetry is complex. Words are often used to mean many things at once. Tapscott, presumably a poet himself, should know this, but he makes choices that block most of the view, or which simply substitute another image altogether. That is often necessary in translations, but this goes way beyond artistic license. This is the product of simply not "getting it." In addition, his subjects often do not agree with verbs, or worse, he pairs the verb with the wrong subject.
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