Friday, July 20, 2012

Verse Vendredi - Pablo Neruda

In my attempts to diversify the topics discussed here on Nostalgically Yours, I'm looking for topics that I've never discussed before. One such topic is poetry.

I guess I'm just picky, or I haven't really explored the field enough, but I've never really been especially keen on poetry. It isn't that I don't enjoy it, I guess I just really don't expose myself to it enough. It's one of many things in my life I'm trying to work on. Of the few poets I do know, though, there is one to whom my mind wanders more than the rest, and that is a certain Pablo Neruda.

Neruda in his early Twenties
Neruda, born Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, in Chile at the turn of the 20th Century became famous for his poetry from a very young age, having his first work published when he was all of 13. "Pablo Neruda" was the name he used to avoid being found out by his father, who did not approve of his son's writing aspirations. This pen name is believed to have been a combination of Czech Poet Jan Neruda and French Poet Paul (or Pablo) Verlaine. Despite his father's disapproval, Neruda continued to write under his pen name, and eventually adopted it as his legal name. His illustrious and varied career not only included verse, journalism, and other writing, but also diplomatic office, political leadership, and international negotiator and peace-maker.

Neruda after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1971.
His poetry, obviously, is what he is most remembered for, and rightly so. Gabriel García Márquez, author of "Love in the Time of Cholera" has called Neruda "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language." Of course, there's no language like his original Spanish. I've gushed about Spanish before, and in a previous attempt t translating Spanish verse I've said how so much of the beauty gets lost. If you have no other reason for learning Spanish, do it to hear Neruda's poetry in its original language.

"Si tú me Olvidas" (Original)

(English Translation)

Of course, the words still retain their meaning when translated, but the rhythm and the song of the words are lost in the English version. There's just something about Spanish that gets me. The most mundane phrases can be filled with music to me when they're spoken in Spanish... I really do believe it is the most beautiful of the Romance Languages, if not all languages.

"Poem 20" (Original)

(English Translation)

To me, the challenge of writing poetry is creating that subtle musicality that can't be achieved with any other medium. In most songs, the melody carried the words. In poetry, the words must speak entirely for themselves, making it a very vulnerable medium. It's naked music.

"I Like For You to be Still" (Original)

(English Translation)

I encourage you all to explore the works of Neruda both in print and video form, though I find that listening to spoken words is more my style. Who are your favorite poets?

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?