Library Circulation Associate
Poetry and I are merely acquaintances.
I read poetry when required for class, and recommended by friends. I listen intently as poets read aloud carefully chosen words and sometimes I understand what the person is trying to say. I am unable to distinguish average from amazing poems in the way I do not hear the difference between musical chords, but I enjoy the sound.
Thankfully, I have friends who understand poems intimately. Some of these friends can explain the nuances in meter and tone using the correct vocabulary. Some of these friends are poets themselves. Each friend has a favorite and I sent out a call to these friends to give me recommendations. The most common name on this list is Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest Spanish language poets but also one of the more controversial due to his Communist politics and poetry. His poetry ranged from love to politics to the sea and everywhere between. Reading some of his poetry, especially about love and nature, reminded me a little Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short stories based in Magical Realism with striking imagery built upon thoughtful words. Even in The Book of Questions, filled mostly with two line questions, it is the visions Neruda creates that grabs the reader more than the words: “How long does a Rhinoceros last / after he’s moved to compassion?” and “How do we thank the clouds / for their fleeting abundance?” are personal favorites.
As I have said, I am not an expert or an avid reader of poetry. Thankfully, the library has numerous books about Pablo Neruda and his poetry, along with books to assist with the understanding of poetry’s creation. Below is a brief list of materials we have for your use. Plenty more can be found in our collection.
- How to read a poem : and fall in love with poetry by Edward Hirsch
- Memoirs by Pablo Neruda. Translated by Hardie St. Martin
- Pablo Neruda : a passion for life by Adam Feinstein
- Pablo Neruda and the U.S. Culture Industry edited by Teresa Longo
- The Poetry of Pablo Neruda edited by Ilan Stavans (The anthology I mentioned in the post.)
- Twenty love poems and a song of despair by Pablo Neruda. Translated by W.S. Merwin