Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto (Pablo Neruda) was born in Parral (Chile). His father, don José del Carmen Reyes Morales, was a poor railway worker and mother, Rosa Basoalto de Reyes, was a schoolteacher, who died of tuberculosis when Neruda was an infant.
Neruda started to write poetry when he was ten years old. At the age of 12 he met the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, who encouraged his literary efforts. Neruda's first literary work, an article, appeared in 1917 in the magazine La Manana.
In 1920 he published poems in the magazine Selva Austral, using the pen name Pablo Neruda to avoid conflict with his family, who disapproved his literary ambitions. He adopted this name in 1946.
From 1921 he studied at the Instituto Pedagógico in Santiago, where he studied French language.
In 1924 Neruda gained international fame as an writer with VEINTE POEMAS DE AMOR Y UNA CANCÍON.
At the age of only 23 Neruda was appointed by the Chilean government as a consul. He held diplomatic posts in various East Asian and European Countries, befriending among others Federico García Lorca.
Neruda's RECIDENCIA EN LA TIERRE (1933), was a visionary work, born on the emerge of fascism.
In 1935-36 he was in Spain but he had to resign from his post because he sided with the Spanish Republicans.
After the leftist candidate in Chile, don Pedro Aguirre Cerda won the presidental election, Neruda again is appointed consul, this time to Paris, where he helped Spanish refugees by re-settling them in Chile.
In the 1930s and 1940s Neruda lived with the Argentine painter Delia del Carril, who encouraged Neruda to participate in politics. Neruda and Delia del Carril married in 1943, but the marriage was not recognized in Chile; they separated in 1955.
In 1942 Neruda visited Cuba and read first time his poem, 'CANTO DE AMOR PARA STALINGRADO', which praised the Red Army fighting in Stalingrad. His daughter, Malva Marina, died in the same year in Europe.
Neruda joined the Communist Party, and in 1945 he was elected to Chilean Senate. He attacked President González Videla in print and when the government was taken by right-wing extremists, he fled to Mexico. He travelled in the Soviet Union, where he was warmly received, and in other Eastern European countries. He met Ilya Ehrenburg and the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, who lived in exile in Moscow. The Soviet Union was for Neruda a country, where libraries, universities, and theatres were open for all.
In exile Neruda produced CANTO GENERAL (1950), a monumental work of 340 poems. In this work Neruda examined Latin American history from a Marxist point of view, and showed his deep knowledge about the history, geography and politics of the continent. The central theme is the struggle of his continent for social justice.
While in exile, Neruda lived for a while in Italy. After the victory of the anti-Videla forces and the order to arrest leftist was rescinded, Neruda returned to Chile.
In his collection EXTRAVAGARIO (1958) he reflects his returns into his youth, presents the reader his daily life and examines critically his Marxist beliefs.
In 1966 he married the Chilean singer Matilde Urrutia. She was the inspiration of much of Neruda's later poetry, among others CIEN SONETOS DEL AMOR (1960).
Establishing a permanent home on the Isla Negra, Neruda continued to travel extensively.
When Salvador Allende was elected president, he appointed Neruda as Chile's ambassador to France (1970-72).
He was winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
Neruda died of leukemia in Santiago on 23 September in 1973.
His death was probably accelerated by the murder of Allende and tragedies caused by Pinochet coup. After Neruda's death his home in Valparaiso and Santioago were robbed.
© Guy Wagner
During his long literary career, Neruda produced more than forty volumes of poetry, translations, and verse drama. He is the most widely read of the Spanish American poets.
* CREPUSCULARIO, 1923
* VEINTE POEMAS DE AMOR Y UNA CANCÍON DESESPERADA, 1924 - Twenty Love Songs and a Song of Despair
* ed.: PÁGINAS ESCOGIDAS DE ANATOLE FRANCE, 1924
* RESIDENCIA EN LA TIERRA (1925-31) - Residence on Earth
* TENTIVA DEL HOMBRE INFINITO, 1926 - Attempt of the Infinite Man
* ANILLOS, 1926 - Rings
* EL HABITANTE Y SU ESPERANZA, 1926
* EL HONDERO ENTUSIASTA, 1933 - Enthusiastic Slingshooter
* RECIDENCIA EN LA TIERRE, 1933-35 - Residence on Earth
* ESPAÑA EN EL CORAZÓN, 1937 (Espagne au coeur, foreword by Luis Aragon)
* LAS FURIAS Y LAS PENAS, 1939
* NERUDA ENTRE NOSOTROS, 1939
* 'Un canto para Bolívar', 1941
* 'Canto de amor para Stalingrado', 1942
* 'Nuevo canto de amor a Stalingrado', 1943
* CANTOS DE PABLO NERUDA, 1943
* SUS MEJORES VERSOS, 1943
* SELECCIÓN, 1943 (ed. by Arturo Aldunante Phillips)
* Selected Poems, 1944
* SALUDO AL NORTE Y A STALINGRADO, 1945
* CUATRO DISCURSOS, 1945 (with others)
* TERCERA RESIDENCIA, 1947
* RESIDENCIA EN LA TIERRA, 1947
* DULCE PATRIA, 1949
* CANTO GENERAL, 1950 - Canto General / General Song
* LOS VERSOS DEL CAPITÁN, 1952 - The Captain's Verses
* TODO EL AMOR, 1953
* POESÍA POLÍTICA, 1953 (2 vols.)
* Le chant général, 1954 (ill. by Fernand Léger)
* Pablo Neruda, choix de poèmes, 1954 (ed. and trans. by Jean Marcenac)
* Tout l'amour, 1954 (ed. by Pierre Segners)
* LAS UVAS Y EL VIENTO, 1954
* ODAS ELEMENTALES I-III, 1954-57 - Elementary Odes
* NUEVAS ODAS ELEMENTALES, 1956
* TERCER LIBRO DE LAS ÓDAS, 1957
* OBRAS COMPLETAS, 1957
* ESTRAVAGARIO, 1958 - Extravagaria
* NAVEGACIONES Y REGRESOS, 1959
* CIEN SONETOS DEL AMOR, 1960 - One Hundred Love Sonnets
* CANSIÓN DE GESTA, 1960 - Song of Protest
* LAS PIEDRAS DE CHILE, 1960 - Stones of Chile
* CANTOS CEREMONIALES, 1960
* Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda, 1961
* PLENOS PODERES, 1962 - Fully Empowered
* SUMARIO, 1963
* MEMORIAL DE LA ISLA NEGRA, 1964 (5 vols.) - Isla Negra, A Notebook
* ARTE DE PÁJAROS, 1966 - Art of Birds
* LA CASA DE ARENA, 1966 - The House in the Sand
* FALGOR Y MUERTE DE JOAQUÍN MURIETA, 1967 - The Splendour and Death of Joaquín Murieta
* LAS MANOS DEL DÍA, 1968
* COMIENDO EN HUNGARÍA, 1969 - Sentimental Journey aroud the Hungarian Cuisine
* FIN DEL MUNDO, 1969
* AÚN, 1969
* Early Poems, 1969
* A New Decade, 1969
* AÚN, 1969 - Still Another Day
* LA ESPADA ENCENDIDA, 1970
* LAS PIEDRAS DEL CIELO, 1970 - Stones of the Skies
* GEOGRAFÍA INFRUCTUOSA, 1972
* OBRAS COMPLETAS, 1973 ( 3 vols.)
* CONFIESO HABER VIVIDO, 1973 - Tunnustan eläneeni
* INCITACIÓN AL NIXONCIDIO Y ALABANZA DE LA REVOLUCÍON CHILENA, 1973 - A Call for the Destruction of Nixon and Praise for the Chilean Revolution
* 2000, 1974 - transl. as 2000
* EL MAR Y LAS CAMPANAS, 1974 - The Sea and the Bells
* ELEGÍA, 1974
* Five Decades, 1974
* EL CORAZÓN AMARILLO, 1974
* EL LIBRO DE PREGUNTAS, 1974
* JARDÍN DE INVIERNO, 1974 Winter Garden
* LA ROSA SEPARADA, 1974 - The Separate Rose
* DEFECTOS ESCOGIDOS, 1974
* PARA NACER HE NACIDO, 1977 - Passions and Impressions
* EL FIN DE VIAJE, 1982
* Late and Posthumous Poems 1968-1975, 1988
From different sources
Pablo Neruda, Matilde & Mikis in Paris