Pablo Neruda biography, style, works, phrases

Anthony Golden
Pablo Neruda biography, style, works, phrases

Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (1904-1973), better known as Pablo Neruda, was a Chilean writer and poet who is considered one of the most outstanding and influential intellectuals in literature in the 20th century. The author also had an outstanding participation in the political life of his country.

Neruda's literary work belonged to the avant-garde and postmodern movements. His poetic repertoire went through three stages: the transition towards innovation, the dark and hermetic and the one related to politics. The writer used expressive and emotional language.

Pablo Neruda. Source: Unknown (Mondadori Publishers) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pablo Neruda's literary production was extensive and known worldwide. The most representative titles of the author were: Twilight, Twenty love poems and a desperate song, Attempt of the infinite man, General song, Estravagario Y One hundred sonnets of love. The poet won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

Article index

  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Birth and family
    • 1.2 Studies
    • 1.3 Professional beginnings
    • 1.4 Trip to Santiago
    • 1.5 First publications
    • 1.6 Between literature and poverty
    • 1.7 Return to Chile
    • 1.8 Trip to Spain
    • 1.9 With the republican cause
    • 1.10 Time in France
    • 1.11 Back to Chile
    • 1.12 Neruda in Mexico
    • 1.13 Travel to Cuba
    • 1.14 Goodbye to Mexico
    • 1.15 Back to his homeland
    • 1.16 Neruda in hiding
    • 1.17 The poet in Europe
    • 1.18 Neruda's great love
    • 1.19 Last two decades of his life
    • 1.20 Death
  • 2 Style
  • 3 Works
    • 3.1 Posthumous publications
    • 3.2 Discography
    • 3.3 Fragment of "Love"
    • 3.4 Excerpt from "Now is Cuba"
  • 4 Phrases
  • 5 References


Birth and family

Ricardo Eliécer was born on July 12, 1904 in the city of Parral, Chile. The writer came from a cultured family and middle socioeconomic class. His parents were José del Carmen Reyes Morales and the teacher Rosa Neftalí Basoalto Opazo. The writer was orphaned at two months old.

Little Ricardo and his father went to the town of Temuco in 1906. There his father married a lady named Trinidad Candia Marverde, who had a son named Rodolfo. Trinidad was like a mother to the poet, and he affectionately called her "Mamadre".


Ricardo Eliécer's primary and secondary education took place in Temuco. While there he entered the Men's Lyceum in 1910. His student years were marked by the environment and nature of the place. At that stage his taste and interest in literature and poetry was born..

The talent that Ricardo showed for the letters began to materialize in 1917. That year he unveiled his work Enthusiasm and perseverance in the pages of the local newspaper The morning.

After that publication, the writer competed in the Floral Games of Maule with the work "Nocturno ideal" and won the third prize. The novel poet graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1920.

Professional beginnings

Ricardo began his professional career in 1920 when he was still a high school student. At that time the writer served as director of the Literary Athenaeum of the Liceo de Temuco. Besides that, the poet collaborated in the publication Southern jungle.

The author began to sign some of his works under the pseudonym Pablo Neruda in October of that same year. A month later, he won first place in the poetry contest of the Temuco Spring Festival.

Trip to Santiago

Pablo Neruda undertook a trip to Santiago in 1921 to study French pedagogy at the Pedagogical Institute of the University of Chile. On that same date, he won the award of the Spring Festival of the Federation of Students with the writing "The song of the party".

The writer dedicated himself to attending cultural and literary events during his stay in the Chilean capital. That stage of Neruda's life was characterized by carelessness and economic shortcomings. His poverty was due to the fact that his father did not send him more money, because he did not agree with his poetic career.

First publications

Neruda published Twilight In July 1923, this was his first book and it gave him national renown. At that time the author wrote for magazines Clarity Y Dionysios and the articles signed under the name of Sachka.

After releasing his book, the author went to the Lower Imperial coast to spend vacations. Being in that place Neruda began to develop what would be one of his masterpieces: Twenty love poems and a desperate song. This iconic book was published by the poet in 1924.

That same year Neruda made translations of texts from French to Spanish by the author Anatole France. A year after that Pablo was in charge of directing the magazine Horse of Wands.

Between literature and poverty

The intellectual toured various regions of his country in the summer of 1926 and returned to Santiago that same year. Being in this city published the works the habitant and his hope Y Rings. The writer's finances were not strong at that time, so he undertook the task of landing a position at the consulate..

Young Pablo Neruda. Source: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

His objective was achieved and that same year Burma left as his country's diplomatic representative. Along with his work as consul, he wrote for the newspaper The nation. The poet had time for a stormy and passionate love affair with a young woman named Josie Bliss, to whom he dedicated the verses of "Tango del viudo".

Return to Chile

After five years out of his country Neruda returned to Chile in the company of María Antonieta Haagenar Vogelzang, whom he married in December 1930. The writer joined the literary work working in the Foreign Ministry Library and in July 1932 he was appointed employee of the Cultural Department of the Ministry of Labor.

Neruda continued to develop his poetry and published The Zealous Slinger in 1933. In that same year Pablo was elected Chilean ambassador to Argentina. During his stay in Buenos Aires he frequented several literary meetings and met the Spanish writer Federico García Lorca.

Travel to Spain

The writer spent a year in Argentina and then on May 5, 1934, he traveled to Spain as a diplomatic representative with his wife, María Antonieta. While in the old continent he coincided with several intellectuals of the famous generation of 27, such as Rafael Alberti.

During his stay in Madrid, his daughter Malva Marina Trinidad was born on August 18 of the same year. The girl came into the world suffering from hydrocephalus. During that time the poet gave several talks and recitals at different universities..

Pablo Neruda's literary work was honored by some writers in 1935 through some songs. After these activities, the writer traveled to Paris to participate in the First International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture.

With the republican cause

Pablo Neruda was an eyewitness to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936. The writer expressed his support for the Republican cause after the murder of his friend Federico García Lorca in August of that same year. Because of this event the writer published in The Blue Monkey su "I sing to the mothers of the dead militiamen".

Neruda's not very neutral position was the subject of various criticisms from some members of the Chilean government. Finally, the Chilean consulate in Madrid was closed due to the conflicts of the time. The poet was not established in another position and decided to travel to France.

Weather in France

The writer arrived in Paris in January 1937 and there he met Delia del Carril, whom he met in Spain in 1934. Neruda tried to get another diplomatic post and began work in favor of the Spanish republican cause.

To achieve his goal, the writer surrounded himself with various personalities of the time and created and directed the magazine The Poets of the World Defend the Spanish People. At that time the poet was also part of the Hispanic-American Group to help the Spanish people..

Neruda also joined the Association for the Defense of Culture to organize a writers' congress against the fascism that reigned in Spain. After that Neruda released the poem "It's like this", with which he began the second stage of his poetic work..

Back to chile

Pablo Neruda with Salvador Allende

Pablo Neruda returned to Chile in October 1937 accompanied by Delia del Carril. A month later the writer founded and directed the Alliance of Intellectuals of Chile and later published Spain in the heart.

Unfortunately, the poet's literary achievements were clouded with the death of his father in May 1938 and the subsequent death of his stepmother "Mamadre" in August of that same year..

A year later Neruda was appointed consul in Paris to help the Spanish refugees and shipped two thousand of them to Chile on May 12, 1939.

Neruda in Mexico

The good work that Neruda did with the Spanish refugees in Paris was recognized with the position of consul general of his country in Mexico in June 1940. In the Aztec territory the poet was incorporated into cultural life and made friends with intellectuals of the stature by Octavio Paz.

Some time later, the friendship between Paz and Neruda was broken. This was because the Chilean poet refused to be included in the anthology Laurel, a project that the Mexican writer was developing.

Neruda supported his refusal to be part of the anthology due to the exclusion of prominent poets, as was the case of the Spanish Miguel Hernández. At that time the writer was attacked by a pro-Nazi gang in Cuernavaca, on December 28, 1941.

Trip to cuba

The poet made a pause in his diplomatic work in Mexico to travel to Cuba for the first time in March 1942. While in Havana Neruda held several conferences and workshops as a guest of the Ministry of Education.

In addition to the aforementioned activities, the poet attended several literary events and awakened his love for snails after meeting the malacologist Carlos de la Torre.

Goodbye to mexico

After a few months in Cuba, Neruda returned to Mexico. On May 3, 1942, his divorce from María Antonieta Hagenaar became official and four months later he brought to light his controversial "Song to Stalingrad." After that publication, the poet traveled to the United States for health reasons and in 1943 his daughter Malva Marina died..

Pablo married Delia on July 2, 1943 when he returned to Mexico. The poet's stay on Mexican soil came to an end that same year after being removed from office for participating in the wake of the mother of the Brazilian communist Luis Prestes. The writer was fired with honors and recognition by the Mexican people.

Back to his homeland

Pablo Neruda arrived in Chile at the end of 1943. A year later the poet dedicated himself to remodeling his house in Isla Negra and running for the Senate for the Communist Party. After that, the writer was elected representative of the provinces of Antofagasta and Terapacá in 1945. On that date, he received the National Prize for Literature..

Neruda demonstrated in the Chilean Senate his wood for politics and focused on helping the less favored. His performance led him to be the national coordinator of the presidential campaign of Gabriel González Videla. Pablo's work paid off, Videla became president on September 4, 1946.

Neruda in hiding

Shortly after reaching the presidency, González Videla opposed the Communist Party and began attacking its members. Neruda criticized the president's attitude through various writings. Consequently a persecution against the poet began. He tried to leave Chile, but could not and had to spend a year in hiding.

Pablo Neruda took advantage of the time he remained in hiding to write his General sing, one of the most outstanding works of his literary career. Later, the poet planned his departure from the country in the company of several friends, and managed to do so under the identity of Antonio Ruiz in March 1949.

The poet in Europe

Neruda arrived in Buenos Aires in mid-April 1949 and from there he traveled to Paris with the passport of his friend Miguel Ángel Asturias, a Guatemalan with whom he had a certain physical resemblance. Finally Pablo arrived in Switzerland with the help of several artist and writer friends, including Picasso..

The poet remained in Europe until the beginning of August 1949. During that time he attended cultural congresses and literary events..

Neruda's great love

Pablo traveled to Mexico on August 28, 1949 and there he met up with Matilde Urrutia, whom he met in Chile three years earlier. The couple began a love affair that lasted until the end of Neruda's life. This new love was a source of inspiration for several verses of the poet.

The love affair between Neruda and Matilde was consummated behind the back of the relationship that the poet had with Delia del Carril. They frequently took trips in groups of friends so as not to arouse suspicion. Finally the lovers began to live together in February 1955 after the definitive separation of Pablo and Delia.

Neruda with his wife Delia de Carril and Erich Honecker in 1951. Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-10640-0020 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons

Last two decades of his life

The last two decades of Pablo Neruda's life were dedicated to writing, traveling, lecturing, and Matilde Urrutia. At the end of the fifties the writer published several works, among them: New Elemental Odes, Estravagario Y One hundred sonnets of love.

Neruda's literary boom was greatest in the sixties. The poet published ten works, the most outstanding were: The stones of Chile, Memorial of Isla Negra, La Barcarola Y Still. The writer constantly traveled the world and was honored in various countries. On October 21, 1971 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.


The last two years of the poet's life were spent in constant visits to the doctor, radiotherapies and hospitalizations, this was due to the cancer he suffered. Despite his illness, Neruda remained active in the development of his literature. His most forceful works were The separated rose Y Geography of Pablo Neruda.

After fighting strongly against cancer, Pablo Neruda lost the battle on September 23, 1973. The funeral ceremonies were massive and his remains were provisionally deposited in the General Cemetery of Santiago de Chile. Almost twenty years later, his body was transferred to Isla Negra, as he requested in life..


Pablo Neruda's literary style was characterized by belonging to the avant-garde current and the postmodernist movement. First his work was innovative and creative, then it became tense, dark and thoughtful. Finally, his poetic production was marked by his political thought and his position in the face of injustice, inequality and wars..

Pablo's poetry was full of feelings and expressiveness. The writer used clear, precise and sensitive language. His verses were profound, sometimes intimate and other so many universal. He wrote to love, hope, life, loneliness, the end of existence, war, peace and politics.


- Twilight (1923).

- Twenty love poems and a desperate song (1924).

- Attempt of the infinite man (1926).

- the habitant and his hope (1926). Novel.

- Rings (1926).

- The Zealous Slinger (1933).

- Residence on Earth 1925-1931 (1935).

- Spain in the heart. Hymn to the Glories of the People in War: 1936-1937 (1937).

- New love song to Stalingrad (1943).

- Third residence 1935-1945 (1947).

- General sing (1950).

- The captain's verses (1952).

- All the love (1953).

- The grapes and the wind (1954).

- Elemental Odes (1954).

- New elemental odes (1955).

- Third Book of Odes (1957).

- Estravagario (1958).

- Navigations and returns (1959).

- One hundred sonnets of love (1959).

- Song of feat (1960).

- Poetry: the stones of Chile (1960).

- Ceremonial chants (1961).

- Isla Negra Memorial (1964).

- Bird art (1966).

- Glare and death of Joaquín Murrieta (1967).

- The Barcarola (1967).

- The hands of the day (1968).

- Eating in Hungary (1969). Written jointly with Miguel Ángel Asturias.

- End of the world (1969).

- Still (1969).

- Seaquake (1970).

- The flaming sword (1970).

- The stones of heaven (1970).

- Stockholm speech (1972).

- Unsuccessful geography (1972).

- The separated rose (1972).

- Incitement to Nixonicide and praise of the Chilean revolution (1973).

- Geography of Pablo Neruda (1973).

- Anthem and return.

- Wake up the lumberjack.

Posthumous publications

- The sea and the bells (1973).

- 2000 (1974).

- Elegy (1974).

- The yellow heart (1974).

- Winter Garden (1974).

Neruda's house in Isla Negra. Source: flickr user “chilenauta” [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

- I confess that I have lived (1974).

- Question book (1974).

- Love letters from Pablo Neruda (1975).

- To be born I was born (1978).

- Letters to Laura (1978).

- Chosen poems (1980).

- The invisible river (1980).

- Neruda / Eandi. Correspondence during residence on earth (1980).

- The end of the trip (1982).

- Fundamental anthology (1997).

- Pablo Neruda, parliamentary speeches 1945-1948 (1997).

- Pablo Neruda, notebooks from Temuco.

- Pablo Neruda, forewords (2000).

- Pablo Neruda, traveling correspondence 1927-1973 (2004).

- Pablo Neruda at O'Cruzeiro Internacional (2004).

- Pablo Neruda, I respond with my work: lectures, speeches, letters, statements 1932-1959 (2004).

- Speeches (2008). Pablo Neruda, J. M. Coetzee, W. Faulkner, Doris Lessing, G. G. Márquez.

- General anthology (2010).

- Extensive skin (2013).


- Bird art (1966).

Fragment of "Love"

"Woman, I would have been your son, for

Drink tea

breast milk as from a


for looking at you and feeling you by my side and

have you in the golden laugh and the crystal voice.

For feeling in my veins like

God in the rivers

and worship you in the sad bones

of dust and lime,

because your being will pass

without sorrow next to me ...

How would I know how to love you, woman, how would I know

love you, love you like nobody else

never knew.

Die and still

love you more.

And yet

love you more and more ".

Neruda after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Source: Argentine magazine Siete Días Ilustrados [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fragment of "Now is Cuba"

"... Cuba my love, they tied you up

to the colt,

they cut your face,

they separated your legs

pale gold,

They broke your sex in Granada,

they pierced you with knives,

they divided you, they burned you ...

Cuba, my love, what a chill

the foam shook you off,

until you became purity,

loneliness, silence, thicket,

and the bones of your children

the crabs were disputed ".


- "It is forbidden not to smile at problems, not to fight for what you want, to abandon everything out of fear, not to make your dreams come true".

- "In you the rivers sing and my soul in them flees as you wish and wherever you want".

- "Why will all the love come to me at once when I feel sad, and I feel you are far away ...".

- "Someday anywhere, in any place you will inevitably find yourself, and that, only that, can be the happiest or the most bitter of your hours".

- "Do not do with love what a child does with his balloon who ignores it when he has it and when he loses it cries".

- "The child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play lost forever the child who lived in him and he will miss it very much".

- "If nothing saves us from death, unless love saves us from life".

- “I like it when you are silent because you are absent and you can hear me from afar, and my voice does not touch you. It seems that your eyes have flown and it seems that a kiss closed your mouth ".

- "They will be able to cut all the flowers, but they will not be able to stop the spring".

- "For nothing separate us that nothing unites us".


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