Perhaps, one of the best poets in the whole world is Pablo Neruda. Aside from being a poet, he was also a diplomat in the Latin America. This short biography of Pablo Neruda aims to give you a peek into the life of one of the greatest poets in the 20th century.
Parral, Chile was the place of birth to Pablo Neruda. He was born on June 12, 1904 with the name of Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. His father was a railroad worker and his mother was a school teacher who died a few months after his birth. Upon his mother’s death, Pablo Neruda and his father eventually transferred to Temuco, a city in Southern Chile. There, his father married Trinidad Candia Marverde, and Neruda grew up with his half-siblings named Rodolfo and Laura.
Pablo Neruda started his writing career at an early age. He was indeed a talented boy who started out as a contributor to La Mañana. The daily newspaper became the periodical where his poems and other literary works were first seen by the public. He pursued his career in writing by also contributing to a journal called Selva Austral in 1920. It was during this time, when he became known under his pen name, “Pablo Neruda,” which he got from the Czech poet named Jan Neruda. He decided to use a pen name instead of his real name because his father was against his poetry.
When he was 16, he spent most of his time writing poems, which were published in the book Crepusculari (Book of Twilights), in 1923. During the following year, another book called Veinte Poemas de Amor y Una Canción Desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair), was published. He became popular because of this great collection of love poems which sold millions of copies all over the world.
Other works by Pablo Neruda include:
- Tentativa del Hombre Infinito (The Attempt of the Infinite Man)
- El Habitante y su Esperanza (The Inhabitant and His Hope)
- 100 Love Sonnets
- The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems
- The Poetry of Pablo Neruda
- España en el Corazón (Spain in Our Hearts)
Career as a Diplomat
Pablo Neruda became a diplomat in Latin America in 1927, and traveled to different parts of the world. He can also be considered as a chronicler who wrote about the events during the Spanish Civil War, which took place in 1935. In his book entitled “Spain in Our Hearts,” Pablo Neruda wrote about the killing of his dear friend named Federico Garcia Lorca.
For 10 years, Neruda traveled in and out of Chile because of his work as a diplomat. Aside from that, he became Chile’s ambassador to Mexico, and pursued his political career by being part of the Senate. However, he was criticized for being a fan of communism, which he initially expressed by openly commending and honoring Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, and Fulgencio Batista through his poems.
In 1945, this leftist poet eventually became affiliated with the Communist Party of Chile. Three years after that, the government ordered Communist politicians and writers to be captured, which left Neruda with no choice but to leave the country with his family. After four years, this order was lifted by the government and Neruda came back to Chile.
After returning to Chile, he continued his writing career by producing wide collections of poems. By the 1968, all his works totaled 3,237 pages (two volumes). With his great contributions to the history of literature, he was able to receive awards such as:
- International Peace Prize (1950)
- Stalin Peace Prize (1953)
- Lenin Peace Prize (1953)
- Nobel Prize for Literature (1971)
He passed away on September 23, 1973 in Santiago, Chile.