India Quarterly. Sep2013, Vol. 69 Issue 3, p283-298. 16p.
POETS, CRITICS, TWENTY-first century, and POLITICAL science
Pablo Neruda has been described by some as the most widely read poet ever. His output was prodigious and diverse. He was also very much a man and a poet of his time, that of the first three-fourths of the ‘short’ twentieth century, a time very different from our own. That raises the question: Is it possible to split the poet from his politics? A standard recommendation of literary critics is to stick to Neruda’s ‘non-political’ work and forget the rest. Yet, Neruda himself insisted that not only his poetry but also his personal life and his politics formed an indivisible whole. At a time when the rise of Asia and South America is changing the global landscape, it is especially important to come to terms with the central perspective that inspired Neruda’s oeuvre: his identification with the common man and with the South; his anti-colonial spirit (honed during his Asian sojourn) and his extraordinary grasp of what José Martí referred as ‘nuestra América’. This article explores how Neruda provides us with a vocabulary and a grammar that allows us to look at the emerging new world of the twenty-first century with fresh eyes. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]