Nobel Laureate and writer Gabriel García Márquez called Pablo Neruda “The greatest poet of the twentieth century in any language.” Pablo Neruda was one the greatest Chilean poets who published his first work at the young age of 19. Like many others, he too was not encouraged to pursue his passion for poetry because his father didn’t want him to be a poet. Here, in this article, we’ll explore some more facts about Pablo Neruda, his works, and his life.
Neruda Birth and Death
- The Chilean poet and writer Pablo Neruda was born in 1904 and died in 1973. Neruda died 12 days after the military coup that ousted Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973.
- The remains of the Pablo were dug in 2013. According to some suspicions, it was believed that he was poisoned by the military regime of Augusto Pinochet. It was confirmed through the analysis for cancer to be the cause of his death.
- The bodies of Pablo Neruda and his wife Matilde Urrutia are buried in the backyard of his house, Isla Negra. In fact, both this and the other houses that he had lived in were transformed into museums in his honor.
Facts About Neruda’s Career and Early Life
- Pablo self-published his first book, “Crepusculario ” (1923). For this he had to sell his belongings including his furniture, a gift clock from his father and his black suit, “De Poeta”. Even after selling his belongings, he had to borrow money from his friend.
- The father of Pablo Neruda wanted his son to go to University to create a good future. Thus, he enrolled in the Pedagogical Institute. However, it reached their ears that instead of attending University, Pablo Neruda devoted a lot of time to bohemian life. This was the reason why he stopped sending him money leaving him to cover his expenses on his own.
- At the beginning, he suffered immense economic hardships. He acquired a position as Consul in 1927 through the help from his friends.
- The real name of Pablo Neruda was Ricardo Eliécer Naftalí Reyes Basoalto. He chose the pseudonym Neruda in honor of the Czech writer Jan Neruda, whom he really respected and sought motivation from. He changed his name when he was 17 years old.
- It is said that Ricardo might have changed his name to Pablo Neruda to hide from his father his interest in poetry. However, it is also believed widely by people that his name was actually based on Norman Neruda, a violinist who appears in the novel Study in scarlet (A novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).
- One of the inspirations for him in literature was the writer Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), winner of the Nobel Prize in 1945 and author of works such as Desolación (1922). He also had the chance to meet Gabriela in his early years.
- Besides being a poet and writer, Neruda was a diplomat. He got to work in the embassies of Chile in Burma (Myanmar), Singapore, Mexico and Spain.
- Neruda loved to write with a pen of green ink. He did not like to use blue or black ink and if there were no green ones, he would leave the poems unfinished.
- Neruda was married three times. Their wives were María Antonieta Hagenaar, Delia del Carril and Matilde Urrutia.
Awards and Honors Bequeathed to Neruda
- Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
- He was the first Latin American author to receive the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
- In July 1945, he read a poem in honor of communist leader Luis Carlos Prestes for an estimated audience of 100,000 people. The event occurred at the Pacaembu stadium in São Paulo.
- He was awarded the Viareggio-Versilia prize. The Prize was given to world personalities who work for culture and understanding among peoples.
- He was the first Latin American to receive the Doctor Honoris Causa in Philosophy from Oxford University in 1966.
More Facts About Pablo Neruda
- Three poems are usually falsely attributed to Pablo Neruda, which are “Die slowly”, “Queda Prohibido (It is now forbidden)” and “Nunca te quejes (Never Complain)”.
- He had a hobby of collecting shells, miniature ships, pipes, insects, masks and, bottles. Neruda was also very deeply fascinated by the sea.
- The home of Isla Negra had a full-size locomotive at the entrance. They say that it was a tribute from Neruda to his father, who was a railroader.