Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda

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Univ of California Press, May 17, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 375 pages
The atom, a tuna, laziness, love—the everyday elements and essences of human experience glow in the translucent language of Neruda's odes. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) wrote three books of odes during his lifetime. Odas elementales was published in 1954, followed in subsequent years by Nuevas odas elementales and Tercer libro de las odas. Margaret Sayers Peden's selection of odes from all three volumes, printed with the Spanish originals on facing pages, is by far the most extensive yet to appear in English. She vividly conveys the poet's vision of the realities of day-to-day life in her translations, while her brief introduction describes the genesis of the poems.

To write simply of simple things was a task the poet undertook consciously, following his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, the "social conversion" that resulted from a visit to Macchu Picchu, and the writing of his epic Canto general (California, forthcoming). The odes are arranged in brief, sinuous lines that flow down the page and connect the poet to the animal, mineral, and vegetable world, to people and objects, and to the landscape of history. "Chile," Neruda once said in reference to the work of sixteenth-century poet Alonso de Ercilla, "was invented by a poet." In accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, he declared that "We [writers from the vast expanse of America] are called upon to fill with words the confines of a mute continent, and we become drunk with the task of telling and naming." The odes reflect what Neruda saw as both an obligation and a privilege—the naming and defining of his world.
 

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User Review  - seanj - LibraryThing

Excellent translations of most of Neruda's best odes to the ordinary: "Ode to Tomatoes," "Ode to My Suit," "Ode to a Pair of Socks," and others. Read full review

Contents

NEVV ELEMENTAL ODES
1
Oda al Libro de Estampas Ode to a Stamp Album 3 18
3
ELEMENTAL ODES
5
Oda a la Alcachofa Ode to an Artichoke
22
Oda al Átomo Ode to the Atom
28
Oda a las Aves de Chile Ode to the Birds of Chile
38
Oda al Caldillo de Congrio Ode to Conger Chowder
46
Oda a la Crítica Ode to Criticism
54
Oda a la Gaviota Ode to the Sea Gull
222
Odas de Todo el Mundo Odes for Everyone
246
Oda al Albañil Tranquilo Ode to the Gentle Bricklayer
254
Oda al Algarrobo Muerto Ode to a Dead Carob Tree
266
Oda a las Algas del Océano Ode to Seaweeds
276
Oda a la Bicicleta Ode to Bicycles
282
Oda a la Casa Abandonada Ode to an Abandoned House
294
Oda al Limón Ode to the Lemon
324

Oda al Laboratorista Ode to a Laboratory Technician
66
Oda al Libro II Ode to the Book II
72
Oda a la Madera Ode to Wood
78
Oda a Mirar Pájaros Ode to BirdWatching
86
Oda a los Números Ode to Numbers
94
La Casa de las Odas The House of Odes
203
Oda al Maíz Ode to Maize
332
Oda al Doble Otoño Ode to Two Autumns
346
Oda al Viejo Poeta Ode to an Aged Poet
358
Oda a la Sal Ode to Salt
366
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About the author (2011)

Pablo Neruda, original name Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto (born July 12, 1904--died September 23, 1973), was a Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He was perhaps the most important Latin American poet of the 20th century.

Margaret Sayers Peden is Professor Emerita of Spanish at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The author of Emilio Carballido and editor of The Latin American Short Story, A Critical History, she has translated more than twenty works of fiction, drama, and poetry.

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