Pablo Neruda: Absence and presence

by Luis Poirot

Paper Book, 1989




New York : Norton, c1989.


Pablo Neruda is one of the most widely read poets in the world. A Nobel Prize winner and a man with legions of friends, he loved and wrote about everything is nature as well as objects of all descriptions. In this book, through Neruda's words, his friends' words, and magnificent photographs, we can to know his magical world, and ultimately the man himself. Neruda's elegant and lyrical poetry, presented here bilingually with superb translations by Alastair Reid, reveals a man of great warmth and complex thought. A passionate acquirer, he collected ships in bottles, shells, postcards, ships' figureheards, sextants, clocks, stones, books, hats, and more. These objects served as extensions of his imagination, the vocabulary of his poems. Luis Poirot's evocative photographs of Neruda, his possessions, and his surroundings provide a dramatic, yet intimate narrative alongside his poetry. Neruda's house in Isla Negra, facing the Pacific Ocean (he collected houses, too, and made them into original, often whimsical, objects in themselves) is where most of Poirot's photographs were taken. We are witness to the manner in which Neruda imbued this house, and all it contained, with his own vitality, style, and large imagination. More than twenty of Neruda's friends, including Julio Cort?ar, Eduardo Galeano, Alastair Reid, Diego Mu?s, Roberto Matta, and his wife Matilde Urrutia, offer personal insights and humorous memories of this prolific poet. A striking portrait by Poirot accompanies each testimony. An aura of Neruda prevails throughout this hypnotic journey of words and photographs. Even when the words are not his own, even when the camera is not focused on him, Neruda's presence haunts and inspires.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member cammykitty
This is an interesting collection of photos, mainly of Pablo Neruda's house in Isla Negra, paired with Neruda's poems and fragments of his poems. There is also a section of photographs of his friends and their memories of him. Some of these memories are very interesting, some not so much. On the whole, it is a beautiful tribute to a strange man. It provides a context to his poetry, but quite different from the kind of context one gains by reading a biography.… (more)


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