Pablo Neruda in New York (1966)

Pablo Neruda, 1971
Pablo Neruda, 1971

This is a rebroadcast of writer and political activist, Pablo Neruda reading his poetry at the 92nd Street Y. It was originally recorded in 1966. Neruda is joined by Martin Eshleman, Robert Bly, Ben Bellit, H. R. Hays, and James Wright, who translate his poems. At the beginning of the reading, Neruda thanks his American audience for greeting him with such warmth and support. This acknowledgment is notable based on the fact that his appearance was almost prevented by U.S. Authorities owing to the fact that he was a known communist. It was because of Lyndon Johnson's intervention that customs admitted him into the county.

Neruda reads some some of the poems from which he is most celebrated for, as well as some of his lesser known works. Some of these poems include: Ode with a Lament, Nothing but Death, Walking Around, The Head of a Pole, and Toussaint L’Ouverture. He speaks about love, death, socks, the liberation of Haiti, and the politics that his native Chile had been confronted with.

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was a Chilean poet and diplomat. Many have praised him as the greatest poet of the Spanish language of our time. Few English speakers have been able to recognize his work because most of his work has yet to be properly translated. He became recognized for his talents as a writer at an early age, having published his first work at the age of 13. As a young man he became friends with Spanish poets Rafael Alberti and Federico García Lorca and the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. Simultaneous to his career as a writer, he was a member of the Communist party and even an advocate for Joseph Stalin. He worked as a diplomat in Chile, Argentina, Spain, and Mexico. Two years before his death, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for literature.

This program has been restored by the Clocktower Radio, with assistance of Charles Ruas, and by agreement with the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library, home to the historic audio of Charles Ruas.

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