'The Essential Neruda' by Pablo Neruda (2004)

The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems - Pablo Neruda, Mark Eisner

Pablo Neruda, with Mark Eisner (ed.), The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2010), 204pp. Translated by Mark Eisner et al.

 

This collection of Pablo Neruda's poetry does have some stunning selections, but for some reason it didn't resonate with me as much as I had expected. I think perhaps the overall cohesiveness of the book was lacking, or the translations lacked immediacy, or it could just be that I struggled to get into the right frame of mind to engage with it. That said, it was still a very enjoyable read and I particularly liked 'Ode with a Lament', 'And Then on the Ladder', 'The Potter', 'Ode to the Book', 'Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks', 'Poet's Obligation', 'The People', 'Those Lives' and 'October Fullness'. But if someone wants an easy introduction to Neruda, I'd suggest going with Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair instead, though The Essential Neruda does capture the poet's political consciousness which is lacking in Twenty Love Poems, particularly in that amazing ode to the common man, 'The People'.