Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda


I was recommended Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair for my Chile book by a friend on Facebook and read it in one sitting (it’s a fairly short book). This is the fourth book I’ve reviewed for Read the World project and probably, so far, the one I’ve enjoyed the least. Not because I’m sure Pablo Neruda isn’t a genius, but because it turns out I don’t enjoy translated poetry (poetry in general I’m slightly iffy with). Which is my failing really. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it at all, just that it took a few reads for me to get my head around the poems.

I picked this one because I wanted to branch out from novels and short stories and poetry seemed like another layer (I also have some memoirs on my list). Pablo Neruda’s background fascinated me too, the idea of a politician who is also a poet is fairly outside my realm of understanding.

Objectively, the poems are beautiful representations of love and desire and I loved it the fact that my edition of the book included the original poems as well as the translation. My Spanish is awful, but I enjoyed trying to understand them before reading the translation.

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2 thoughts on “Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

  1. I still haven’t read an Pablu Neruda… Ahh. Will try to fix that in 2017. I began to explore poetry a bit in 2016 and would like to continue that this year. I hope I enjoy it more than you did. I still struggled with very serious poetry and often feel like it goes over my head. I prefer modern poetry. I will give Neruda a try and see if his work if for me.

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    1. Thing is I preferred reading the original Spanish pages more than the English translation (even though my Spanish is ABYSMAL because I haven’t practised in years) so I wonder if maybe I just didn’t get on with the translation? I’m the same though and I definitely prefer modern poetry

      Liked by 1 person

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