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Pablo Neruda Biography

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2017 words Published: 16th Oct 2017

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Pablo Neruda’s poetic skills came to light while he was still a teen. He did his writings in diverse styles which include historical epics, surrealist poems, a prose autobiography, overtly political manifestos, and erotically-charged love poems. In most cases he used green ink in his writings, which symbolized desire and hope from a personal perspective. He believed in communism and advocated for world peace and unity, victimized in his native nation and compelled to exile, his output is a manifestation that protects the cultural legacy of Chile and the larger South American region.

Life experiences influenced his writing


His real name was Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto and his town of birth is Parral, Chile on 12th, 1904. He was born to Rosa Basoalto Opazo and José del Carmen Reyes Morales. The later was a railway worker and the former a school teacher; she died due to tuberculosis a couple of months after conceiving his first and only son. Pablo Neruda grew up in Temuco with half-sister Laura and half-brother Rodolfo. He went to the Men’s Lyceum of Temuco where he underwent his high school education.

Early years 1917-1920

He published his maiden poems at age 13; while still in high school among them is “Entusiasmo y Perseverancia” in the regional daily “La Mañana”. Come 1918 he published thirteen poems in the journal “Run and Fly” which include “My eyes”. Come 1919 he got the third prize in a home contest with his poem “Nocturno ideal”.

His father was against his son’s writing interest; nonetheless Neruda got support from in his school tutors. Aged fifteen, Neruda met Gabriella Mistral, who was a tutor in the home girl’s school. She familiarized him with the work of European poets and predominantly Russian literature which inspired him the most. Due to the fact that Neruda intended to conceal his publications from his father he opted for the pseudonym of Pablo Neruda, thus all upcoming publications after October 1920 were published under that pseudonym. Jan Neruda, a Czech poet influenced the young poet from whom he acquired his last name. Afterwards he lawfully changed his name to Pablo Neruda.

Universidad de Chile – 1921

His father wanted to see him become a teacher. Come 1921 when he was sixteen and after graduating from high school Neruda shifted to Santiago to learn French and Education at the University of Chile. He bore no interest in pedagogy; his drive was in learning French so that he could read French literature. After his arrival he did publish a chain of poems in the university magazine “Clarity” with Pablo Neruda as the signatory. In the course of this time as a student he created a good number of his renowned output and made his mark as a reputable poet. He associated with Rosa Albertina Azocar who was his influence for a sequence of poems in a Song of Despair and 20 Love Poems. It was evident that Pablo intended to follow a career in writing as a result his father cut financial supplies to him. Come July 1923 the maiden output of “Crepusculario” was published at the Student Federation of Chile by Clarity Editions. In the subsequent year, Nascimiento Editors published the first edition of “Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada”, which would become one of his renowned and most translated outputs.

Diplomatic career 1926

In his role as a writer, Neruda was experiencing financial constraints thus he started to look for a job as a consul. His achievements in literature and interactions enabled him get a consular job in Burma. He was a frequent contributor to the newspaper “La Nacion” in Santiago where he gave publishes regarding his travel chronics.

Come 1929 he was dispatched to Colombo, Sri Lanka as a consul. In the process, he tried out diverse styles and did a succession of surrealistic poems that formed component to “Residencia en la tierra” one of his most vital outputs. Come February of 1932, he resettled in Santiago and was given a job in the Department of Cultural Extension of the Ministry of Labor, during this period the second edition of “Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of despair” was published.

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Come 1933, Neruda was chosen to be a Consul in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nascimiento Editors published “Residence on Earth” restricting its publication to a lowly 100 print outs. Neruda was transferred to Madrid in 1935 in the same capacity as a consul as a replacement to Gabriela Mistral. Neruda was a founder of “Green Horse for poetry” a magazine that specializes in literature. He abandoned his family in Barcelona and hooked up with Delia del Carril.

Spanish Civil War and communism

Come July 1936 the Spanish Civil War started and Federico Garcia Lorca was killed by forces devoted to Franco. Consequence to this happening, Neruda became politicized laying allegiance to the republican side thus a communist for the remainder of his life. He remained neutral to political causes due to his role as a consul. He made publishes in secrecy of “Song to the mothers of the dead militants” captured in the literary journal “The blue monkey” which afterwards turned out to be a component of “Spain in the heart”. The government of Chile opted to close down its consulate in Madrid.

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He then afterwards moved to Paris alongside Delia del Carril and commenced his work in support of the Spanish Republic. He orchestrated the Latin American Committee in defense of the Spanish Republic and presented a conference regarding Federico Garcia Lorca, this was against the Chilean administration wishes. He made publishes of his takes in the magazine “The world poets defend the Spanish people” which was printed in French and in Spanish. He united with Peruvian Cesar Vallejo and discharged duties in the Association for the Defense of Culture. In the poem “I explain a few things” he exhibited a militant and radical tone with respect to political and social aspects.

On moving back to his native Chile, he realized the Alliance of Intellectuals. The maiden edition of two thousand copies of “España en el Corazon” sold out in the first few days and two months later a second edition print outs were made.

Mexico 1940 -1943

Come 1940 Neruda was assigned in Mexico City as the Consul General of Chile. In the aftermath of the murder attempt of Leon Trotsky Neruda, Nerudo granted a visa Chile to David Alfaro Siqueiros, a Mexican accused as one of the schemers to assassinate Trotsky. This led to his one month suspension with no pay.

Come 1942 Neruda gave a series of talks courtesy of an invitation by the Ministry of education. During his stay in Cuba he heard of the demise of his close friend Miguel Hernandez in a Spanish prison. During this time, he did 2 poems “The lost shepherd” and “To Miguel Hernandez killed in the prisons of Spain” which were incorporated in “The grapes and the wind” and “Canto General” respectively. While on a trip Mexico he recited his poem “Song to Stalingrad” which commemorated the vital Russian triumph over the Nazis. This led to condemnation that he did a poem “New love song to Stalingrad”, both poems were incorporated in his book “Third Residence”.

Neruda yet again did a violation on his diplomatic impartiality when at the funeral of Leocadia Felizardo, he recited his poem “Dura elegía” thus making utterances that were deemed offensive to Getulio Vargas, the Brazilian dictator. Consequently, he resigned from his positioned and went back to Chile. While on board to Santiago, he visited the remains of Machu Picchu, which influenced him to write “Alturas de Machu Picchu” he wound up in 1945. He highly rated the undertakings done by ancient Andean civilization; at the same time he condemned the slavery that happened in a bid to accomplish such an exceptional edifice and their ensuing subjugation by the Spaniards.

Return to Chile and the Communist Party 1944

Shortly after going back to Chile, Neruda was made senatorial candidate for the provinces of Tarapacá and Antofagasta in representation of the Communist Party of Chile. Despite not being a formal militant, he became part of the party shortly afterwards.

He was engrossed in the campaigns and come 1945 he was elected Senator of the Republic. Come 1946 Gabriel Gonzales Videla was voted Chilean President in a coalition with the Communist Party. In the subsequent year, Gonzales Videla turned against the Communists and aligned himself with the U.S initiating a campaign in opposition to the communists. An aggressive repression of a miner’s strike in Lota influenced the poet to condemn President Gonzales Videla’s policy in a speech. He recited the names of the miners and their families who had been put behind bars. For the reason that Gonzales Videla barred the communist party newspaper “The Century” from operations, Nerudo did publishing of a letter “Intimate letter for millions of men” in a good number of Latin American nations. This communication criticized the government guiding principles against its people. The ruling regime accused Neruda of insult and of condescending Chile abroad and initiated the process of prosecution. Around this time he went into hideouts and regularly changed houses to evade capture. In the process he completed “Canto General”.

Exile 1948

Come 1949 he went to Mexico where he took part in the Latin American Congress for Peace. While in Mexico, he suffered thrombophlebitis. A Chilean singe, Matilde Urrutia, was engaged to look after him leading to a love affair which lasted until his demise in 1973. The affair influenced him poetically as he wrote a good number of poems where Matilde Urritia featured prominently, most notably in “On hundred love sonnets”, “Estravagario”, “The Barcarolle, “The sea and the bells” and “The captain’s verses”. After 1953 going forward, her existence in the poet’s output becomes deeper. In the course of 1950 during his recuperation in Mexico “Canto General” was printed out in Mexico City with the first edition of five hundred copies. A clandestine edition was published in Chile by the communist party. At the end of the year he received the Stalin Prize for the Peace.

Return to Chile 1952

Come 1952 he returned to Chile after three years in exile, this was possible considering the weakness of ruling regime as well as the support of the poet’s faction group made up of politicians and intellectuals. This period saw the publishing of “The captain’s verses”. The controversial nature of the book resulted into it being anonymously published; this was out of respect for his wife. Matilde Urrutia again featured prominently in poems in this book.

1959 from 1954 seven books were published; “Elementary odes”, “New elementary odes”, “Third book of odes”, “Extravagaria”, “Navigations and return”, “One hundred love sonnets” and “Grapes and the Wind”. “One hundred love sonnets” brings out Neruda’s affection for Matilde Urrutia, he eventually married her in 1966.


Neruda was terminally ill when he went back to Chile. As the contemporary administration collapsed, trials were instigated against his political followers, most of whom friends were imprisoned or were forced to seek asylum in other countries.

His home in Isla Negra was broken into and his writings were damaged by the military police. In the meantime his health was failing at a rapid rate and was thus transferred to Santiago from Isla Negra. Neruda was bed ridden at Santa María Clinic in Santiago and few afterwards he passed on due to heart failure. He was temporarily laid to rest in the mausoleum of the Fittborn family. Big crowds assembled at the cemetery in defiance of the measures of the military police where they paid their last respects to the greatest poet of all time.


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