Pablo Neruda, born Neftalí Ricardo Reyes, was a renowned poet and politician from the South American country of Chile. He was born in the small town of Parral in Chile on July 12, 1904. Neruda started writing poetry at a very young age and received his first official recognition as a poet at the age of ten. Unlike some poets who limit themselves to writing in one genre, Neruda wrote poems in a wide variety of genres, from surrealistic poems to political poems to erotic love poems. He often wrote in green ink, which was his personal symbol for hope and desire. In 1971, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for literature. He was a well-known poet worldwide until his death in his home country in Santiago de Chile on September 23, 1973.
Neruda is famous for a number of his poems, but the most well-known are his first two works: Book of Twilights, published in 1923, and twenty erotic love poems in the collection known as Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Both of these works were received incredibly well by critics, although the latter of the two, which was published 1924 and had a follow-up second edition published in 1932, was received with some hesitancy due to its erotic contents, which were considered especially inappropriate since Neruda was so young. Both works have been translated into dozens of languages. Since its publication, Twenty Love Poems has sold millions of copies and is Neruda’s most recognized work.
As a child, Neruda studied at the Temuco Boys’ School near his home in Chile. As he got older and his interests turned toward writing, his father became increasingly disapproving of the young Neruda’s passion for poetry and other writing. At the age of 16, partially to escape the disapproving shadow of his father, Neruda left his home and went to the University of Chile in Santiago de Chile to study French. His original intention was to become a teacher. However, he realized that his love for writing continued to grow, so he soon decided to pursue a career as a poet rather than as a teacher.
Aside from being hailed by some as the greatest poet of the twentieth century, Neruda also filled many other positions throughout his life. Despite the fact that he was a well-known poet even during his lifetime, Neruda had extensive financial problems. In an attempt to offset his money trouble, he decided to take a position as a diplomat in 1927 in Rangoon, the capital of the then-British province of Burma. Neruda held diplomatic posts in a variety of countries throughout his career as a diplomat, which spanned several decades. He was also a diplomat in countries like India, Argentina, and Spain. He was an ardent supporter of communism, so he played an active role in the Spanish Civil War during his time as a diplomat. His support of communism led him to receive many prizes, such as the Stalin Peace Prize and the Lenin Peace Prize.
Pablo Neruda, one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, enjoyed a long and prolific career as one of the best-known poets of his time. From assuming a pseudonym to ward off the disappointment of his father to becoming an international diplomat to help make ends meet, Neruda lived a life that impacted people in a variety of fields, from public policy to various genres of literature. Whether it was being a diplomat and representing his country and his political ideologies or pursuing his true passion of writing poetry, Pablo Neruda lived a life that is sure to be remembered for centuries to come.