Some hidden Pablo Neruda poems were just uncovered
Shortly before I turned 20, I visited La Chascona: The home Pablo Neruda built in Santiago, Chile, in honor of Matilde Urrutia, his secret lover at the time. The house is an ode to Neruda’s love for the sea, and it is filled to the brim with beautiful and interesting things — exactly how you’d imagine a poet’s love den to be.
For me, visiting La Chascona was the beginning of a newfound understanding and appreciation for Neruda’s poetry. I learned that, like his Santiago home, much of Neruda’s work was inspired by Urrutia — including “Cien sonetos de amor” (“100 Love Sonnets”) and “Los versos del capitán” (“The Captain’s Verses”). She was his muse; and eventually, she would become his third wife. The two would stay together until his death in 1973, just a couple of years after Neruda received the Nobel Prize in Literature. In his lifetime, Neruda published over 20 collections of poetry; posthumously, almost as many. And now, a new collection of never before translated work is coming our way — and we couldn’t be more excited.
According to The New York Times, “Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda” will include 20 poems uncovered last year by an archivist at the Pablo Neruda foundation in Santiago. To the delight of any Neruda fan, it will allegedly consist of multiple love poems — arguably what the poet is best known for. (Soneto XVII is easily one of the most beautiful poems of all time, and I will gladly go to bat for it.)
As the New York Times reports, the poems were previously released in Spanish by publisher Seix Barral, but have yet to be released in English. The publisher is paying for translation rights with donations from its board and outside donors, but hopes to crowdfund an additional $100,000 in order to help pay for production and printing. The collection is slated for release in April 2016, and “will include full color reproductions of the handwritten poems.” Poet/novelist Forest Gander has been tapped to translate.
“We will be taking special care to translate, design and produce a book which honors the legacy of Pablo Neruda, and hopefully delights his followers,” co-publisher of Copper Canyon, George Knotek, told The New York Times in a statement.
Neruda’s poems are to be savored — and while there are many to devour, with him, it never feels like enough. We couldn’t be more excited that 20 new poems will be available to us soon.
(Image via Instagram.)