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13 February 1992
Pablo NerudaAbsence and Presence 
by Luis Poirot, translated by Alastair Reid.
Norton, 185 pp., £25, March 1991, 0 393 02770 8
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Adios, Poeta 
by Jorge Edwards.
Tusquets Editores, 335 pp., ptas 1,800, November 1990, 84 7223 191 7
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... According to his friend from a younger generation, the Chilean writer and diplomat Jorge Edwards, the most enigmatic thing about PabloNeruda was the way he could switch in one bound, so to speak, from solitude to sociability. This poet of the sea and of lonely places was also one of the most gregarious people Edwards has ever known ...

Dressed as an Admiral

Michael Wood: Neruda’s Hocus Pocus

2 September 2004
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Hardie St Martin.
Souvenir, 370 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 9780285648111
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Isla Negra: A Bilingual Edition 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Alastair Reid.
Souvenir, 416 pp., £14.99, June 2004, 0 285 64913 2
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The Essential NerudaSelected Poems 
edited by Mark Eisner.
City Lights, 199 pp., $16.95, April 2004, 0 87286 428 6
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... Ilya Ehrenburg had a complaint about his friend PabloNeruda’s work. ‘Too much root,’ he said. ‘Too many roots in your poems. Why so many?’ Neruda, reporting this remark in his memoirs, took it as a joke, which it probably was, and as a compliment, which it probably wasn’t. Isla Negra has a whole section, originally a separate volume, called ...
17 May 1984
Poetry and Metamorphosis 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Cambridge, 97 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 521 24848 5
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by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 120 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 19 211958 3
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Conversation with the Prince 
by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Anvil, 206 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 85646 079 6
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Passions and Impressions 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 396 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 571 12054 7
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An Empty Room 
by Leopold Staff, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £3.25, March 1983, 0 906427 52 5
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... himself ‘Caesar of Argentina’. He was flown back to the States in a strait jacket, his madness a form of extreme integrity. Lowell’s visit was partly intended to counter the influence of PabloNeruda, and although Neruda was a brave and fearless figure it is sometimes hard to discern his integrity. He revered Lenin, thought that the Soviet Union could do no wrong and sounds at times like a ...
4 June 1981
Translating NerudaThe Way to Macchu Picchu 
by John Felstiner.
Stanford, 284 pp., $18.50, December 1980, 0 8047 1079 1
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The Oxford Book of Verse in English Translation 
edited by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 608 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 19 214103 1
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... John Felstiner’s Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu is an unusual, honest and enterprising book, but ultimately something of a disappointment. Its title suggests a book-lover’s pilgrimage, an intellectual adventure of the ...

Short Cuts

Eyal Weizman: Arafat’s Tomb

9 January 2014
... whether the two bullet holes in his skull were self-inflicted or whether at least one was the work of Pinochet’s troops. Both exhumations failed to prove murder. Last year Chile also exhumed PabloNeruda, to determine whether his apparent death from cancer in 1973, shortly after he published an article denouncing Pinochet, was actually the result of poisoning. No signs of poison were found, but the ...


Rosemary Dinnage: In Paris

2 February 1984
... from créches to sports centres to old people’s clubs, and its 89 municipal statues and murals confront one uncompromisingly at every turn – by the Palais des Sports Maurice Thorez, in the Parc Pablo-Néruda, around the corner from the Supermarché Yuri Gagarine. Blocks of flats stand in serried ranks, and it is unblinkingly ugly. Vitry is twinned with Burnley, Lancs, and seems nearer to it than ...

In the Sonora

Benjamin Kunkel: Roberto Bolaño

6 September 2007
The Savage Detectives 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 577 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 330 44514 6
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Last Evenings on Earth 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
Harvill, 277 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 84343 181 7
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by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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... I bought was Parra’s Obra Gruesa (Construction Work).’ He then bought another book by Nicanor Parra, the anti-rhetorical Chilean poet whose work Bolaño preferred to that of the more celebrated PabloNeruda – a preference, it seems clear, for Parra’s plain-spokenness over Neruda’s florid multiplication of metaphor – and, in his telling, this was practically all the work towards socialism ...

Disaffiliate, Reaffiliate, Kill Again

Jeremy Harding: Régis Debray

7 February 2008
Praised Be Our Lords: The Autobiography 
by Régis Debray, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 328 pp., £19.99, April 2007, 978 1 84467 140 3
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... of assault weapons with Fidel Castro; he trod the thankless Bolivian forests with Che Guevara and served nearly four years in jail for his trouble. In Chile he was taken up by Salvador Allende and PabloNeruda. Ten years later he became an adviser at the Elysée to François Mitterrand, his country’s only postwar socialist president. He is a revolutionary Third Worldist turned revisionist, turned ...
26 July 1990
... diplomatic service after writing an article about the coup in Le Monde, Edwards was never formally exiled: he simply chose to remain in Europe. Edwards had been chargé d’affaires in Paris after PabloNeruda, the great Chilean poet and Allende’s ambassador there, had fallen ill and returned to Chile, and he stayed on in Spain until the situation in Chile improved sufficiently for him to feel he ...


Richard Gott: Víctor Jara’s Chile

17 September 1998
... Víctor Jara. She was a ballet dancer and choreographer, he was a theatre producer who had become famous as a politicised musician, singing his own songs in folk clubs and at political rallies. Like PabloNeruda and several other stars of the Chilean cultural world, he was a member of the Communist Party. He had travelled widely in Latin America and in Eastern and Western Europe, and had even spent ...
4 October 1984
Family Portrait with Fidel 
by Carlos Franqui, translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Cape, 262 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 224 02268 7
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Infante’s Inferno 
by G. Cabrera Infante, translated by Suzanne Levine.
Faber, 410 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 571 13292 8
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... to the masses, rather than military tales and exploits. In New York he distressed Franqui (and charmed Americans) by preferring to visit a zoo rather than an art gallery. Franqui wanted guests like PabloNeruda in Cuba, but Fidel’s choice to sit at his table at the first New Year ball of the revolution was the old black boxer Joe Louis. Fidel, so Franqui now accuses, wanted to impose on Cuba the ...

Don’t do what Allende did

Greg Grandin: Allende

19 July 2012
Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War 
by Tanya Harmer.
North Carolina, 375 pp., £38.95, October 2011, 978 0 8078 3495 4
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... By 1948, Allende was in the Senate when Gabriel González Videla, a Popular Front president elected with Communist and Socialist votes, set about repressing the left and the trade unions. His friend PabloNeruda fled the country. Allende stayed, denouncing the crackdown but working to get national healthcare enacted in 1952, 13 years after first proposing the idea. Allende won his first Congress seat ...

The Unreachable Real

Michael Wood: Borges

8 July 2010
The Sonnets 
by Jorge Luis Borges, edited by Stephen Kessler.
Penguin, 311 pp., $18, March 2010, 978 0 14 310601 2
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Poems of the Night 
by Jorge Luis Borges, edited by Efraín Kristal.
Penguin, 200 pp., $17, March 2010, 978 0 14 310600 5
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... conservative poet whose voice, even in Spanish, often sounds more British than Latin American’; and finally that he writes in a ‘stately old-world register’ because ‘unlike his contemporaries PabloNeruda and César Vallejo … Borges in his poetry … has little interest in “making it new”.’ This story gets sadder with every assertion. Admirers of Borges’s fictions will expect to be ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende

11 July 2002
Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... a coalition of the Chilean Left, large enough to include the radical Christians and those of the middle class who wanted some say in how the country’s natural resources were exploited, and by whom. PabloNeruda may have been a dank Stalinist in his politics, and have allowed this to infect his poetry, but he was writing as a patriot when he composed the potent verses entitled ‘They Receive ...


Patrick Parrinder

6 December 1990
by Jose Donoso, translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Picador, 310 pp., £13.95, October 1990, 0 330 31157 3
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War Fever 
by J.G. Ballard.
Collins, 176 pp., £12.95, November 1990, 0 00 223770 9
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Great Climate 
by Michael Wilding.
Faber, 147 pp., £12.99, November 1990, 0 571 14428 4
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Honour Thy Father 
by Lesley Glaister.
Secker, 182 pp., £13.99, September 1990, 9780436199981
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... has lost his youthful certainties. He has settled in Paris, he has a wife and a son, and his politics have gone soft. Mañungo’s return to Santiago coincides with the death and funeral of Matilde Neruda, widow of the great poet who was Chile’s only other modern cultural superstar. For an outsider it is impossible to say how far Curfew’s vivid portrayal of PabloNeruda’s surviving friends and ...

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