Stones of the sky

by Pablo Neruda

Paper Book, 2002






Port Townsend, Wash. : Copper Canyon Press, c2002.


This suite of thirty poems is Neruda's last love song to the Earth. When he wrote these poems he was dying of cancer, and as the title suggests he addresses not ordinary stones, but cosmic ones: stones that reconcile immobile permanence and the clarity of spiritual flight. When the poet meets his crystallized self, the encounter "takes on an eerie brilliance"-"The Village Voice," Bilingual with introduction. "An excellent bilingual editon."-"Choice"

User reviews

LibraryThing member g026r
I love Neruda, and I want to love these poems. The subject matter, the lyricism — all mean I should enjoy it.

One thing, however, makes it impossible for me to enjoy this particular version: the translation. It's not the words chosen, but rather that Nolan has at times decided to change the form
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of the poems themselves. Single lines where two clauses are linked by a colon are frequently split into two for reasons that appear to have nothing to do with rhythm or length and everything to do with highlighting the second clause. This highlighting of phrases that Nolan feels important also shows up with single lines that separated out from the stanza it was part of in the original. At one point he even goes so far as to change the number of stanzas in a poem. (XXVII, a single stanza in the original, becomes 3 stanzas in his version.)

I can, and frequently do, quibble with word and phrasing choices and still enjoy a poem in translation, and I understand that the vagaries of moving between two languages makes changes to form all but inevitable. But, at the same time, I find changing the form itself to the extent found here to be unforgivable.
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Original language

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