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Pablo Neruda was born in 1904, baptized as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Interestingly, he changed his name when he first began writing poetry to avoid embarrassing his father, who disapproved of his writing. Nature was very important to Neruda, and as a child, he observed nature very closely. By fifteen, he had had several poems published and enrolled in the University of Chile in Santiago, desiring to become a French professor, but he actually went to serve as Chile's consul in Rangoon, Burma, which was the first of several such postings in Asia. Throughout his displomatic career around the world he continued to write prize-winning volumed of poetry. He was also a political activist, and championed the indigenous rights of Chile's poor Indians and workers. He was elected to Chile's senate, but then had to leave his home country after he made a speech that was highly critical of the repressive government in power at the time. He received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971 and died in 1973. He is famous, among other things, for his love poetry, and is recognised as being the most important Latin American poet of the twentieth century.
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