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Showing posts from May 26, 2013

Las Preguntas - History (Pablo Neruda)

Article by Philip Harvey first published in Eureka Street on May the 14th, 2013 Like many great poems, life is worked out by testing both questions and answers. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?, is itself a beautiful question, made more beautiful by the thirteen line reply that follows. A poem with all the answers is as unconvincing as a poem that has never asked any questions. We seem to find ourselves somewhere between those two extremes, which is why some poems work for us now, while others bide their time. The last poems of the Chilean Pablo Neruda are a cycle of 74 cantos called El Libro de las Preguntas , The Book of Questions . In fact, the poems consist entirely of questions, which act as much to celebrate as to query the world around us. They reveal the poet in his many moods – humourous, nostalgic, political, sentimental, metaphysical, absurd, realistic, passionate, wistful – and in just a few words reduced to the fundamentals. The unquesti