What Do I Read Next?
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924), which launched Neruda's reputation, is one of the most widely read collections of Spanish poetry. The poems describe the poet's affairs with two women, and move from sensual passion to melancholy and detachment to bitterness.
In a celebrated essay, "On Impure Poetry" (1935), Neruda calls for "a poetry as impure as old clothes, as a body with its foodstains and its shame, with wrinkles, observations, dreams, wakefulness, prophesies, declarations of love and hate, stupidities, shocks, idylls, political beliefs, negations, doubts, affirmations, and taxes."
In Poems and Antipoems (1954), the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra practices the "impure poetry" called for by Neruda but without the gentleness or uplifting spirit of Neruda's verse. Parra's "antipoetry" is often ironic, savage, and iconoclastic.
Josée Donoso's collection Charleston and Other Stories (1960) tackles questions of psycho-social identity, marginality, social caste, and the stifling codes of Chilean society.
Neruda's posthumously published collection The Book of Questions (1974) poses questions in poetic form about all manner of subjects—from the meaning of life to what hell must be like for Adolf Hitler—with humor and pathos.
Neruda's Memoirs (1974) offer insights into Latin American politics, art, and history with the poet's characteristic passion, breadth, and intimacy. The book includes portraits of such prominent figures as Lorca, Picasso, Gandhi, Mao Tse-tung, Castro, and Allende.
Black Mesa Poems (1989) by Chicano poet Jimmy Santiago Baca celebrates the elemental aspects of life and pays special tribute to the earth as well as the courage, tenacity, and...
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