Ricardo EliezerNeftali Reyes y Basoalto, commonly known under the pseudonym ofPablo Neruda, which he adopted in memory of the Czechoslovak poet Jan Neruda(1834-1891), was regarded as the greatest poet writing in the Spanish languagein his lifetime; he was born on the 12th of July 1904, in the town of Parral,in Chile – 2 months after he was born his mother died and soon after, him andhis father moved to Temuco. At a young age Neftali took a liking to writing andliterature however encouragement lacked at home; his father, who was a railworker, disapproved of his poetic interest.
Neftali, however, received encouragementfrom others, including the future Nobel Prize winner in literature Gabriela Mistral,who was the headteacher of the local girls’ school in Temuco. Mistral encouragedNeftali’s talent by giving him books and the support he lacked at home. As well as a poet Neruda was a diplomat involvedin the Spanish civil war.
TheSpanish Civil War and the assassination of a friend, García Lorca, affected himstrongly and influenced him to join the Republican movement where he startedworking on his collection of poems Españaen el Corazón, published in 1937. His poetry during this period wascharacterised by an orientation towards political and social matter writingin eclectic styles like prose autobiography and political manifestos;one example is Las Uvas y el Viento,published in 1954, which in many ways is seen to be the account of Neruda’sexile.Neruda wrote amultitude of poems exploring love and all its aspects: – falling in love,making love, and the idea of love. His first collection of poems ,The Captain’s Verses, in its majority, was inspiredby Matilde Urrutia ,his third wife; his second anthology, 100 Love Sonnets, again was dedicated to Urrutia. Oneof his most renowned and original works was the series of love poems titled Veintepoemas de amor y una canción desesperada translated as TwentyLove Poems and a Song of Despair in 1924. His extreme candor in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair earned Neruda a reputation for his explicit and unhingedexpression of sexuality.