Pablo Neruda

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No writer of world renown is perhaps so little known to North Americans as Chilean poet Pablo Neruda," He grew up in Temuco in the backwoods of southern Chile
Mixing memories of his love affairs with memories of the wilderness of southern Chile, he creates a poetic sequence that not only describes a physical liaison, but also evokes the sense of displacement that Neruda felt in leaving the wilderness for the city. "love poetry has equated woman with nature. Neruda took this established mode of comparison and raised it to a cosmic level, making woman into a veritable(true) force of the universe." Born of the poet's feelings of alienation, the work reflects a world which is largely chaotic and senseless, and which—in the first two volumes—offers no hope of understanding With its emphasis on despair and the lack of adequate answers to mankind's problems, Residencia en la tierra in some ways foreshadowed the post-World War II philosophy of existentialism Communism rescued Neruda from the despair he expressed in the first parts of Residencia en la tierra, and led to a change in his approach to poetry. He came to believe "that the work of art and the statement of thought—when these are responsible human actions, rooted in human need—are inseparable from historical and political context," both poetry and prose, advocated an active role in social change rather than simply describing his feelings, as his earlier oeuvre had done. The poem explores the psychic agony of lost love and its accompanying guilt and suffering, conjured in the imagery of savage eroticism, alienation, and loss of self-identity "what makes up life's narrative ('cuento') are single, unconnected events, governed by chance, and meaningless ('suceden'). Man is out of control, like someone hallucinating one-night stands in sordid places." While some critics have felt that Neruda's devotion to Communist dogma was at times extreme, others recognize the important impact his politics had on his poetry....
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