In collaboration with PhillyCam, Moonstone Art Center’s Who Do You Love? series celebrates poets old and new through conversations between Philly’s best writers, poets, and arts organizers. Please join us live on August 5th for a discussion of the life and work of CHARLES BUKOWSKI featuring the host of Poetry Jawns, Alina Pleskova, and PCA fellowship winner Charlie O’Hay.
THIS MONTH, we celebrate the life of Pulitzer Prize winner and Chilean diplomat Pablo Neruda. Born July 12th, Neruda is one of those poets who could truly do anything; he is known equally for his odes to everyday life and love as he is for his fiery political rhetoric. We invited three lovers of Neruda, host of Jubilant Thicket, Anne-Adele Wight, Montgomery County Poet Laurette David Escobar-Martin, and co-founder of Apiary Magazine Tamara Oakman. We asked Anne-Adele and David a few questions after last show.
When did you first encounter Neruda’s work?
David: I was always a huge fan of Jose Marti (since he's the quintessential writer for us Cubans), but I never really paid much attention to other Latino poets. A mentor of mine was sharing Neruda's quotes on Facebook and it made me want to delve deeper into Neruda and Latino writers. Now I'm sort of a Neruda geek and majoring in Spanish Literature!
I first encountered Neruda’s work after a summer of studying Spanish. Not wanting to lose the language, I read more or less at random. Neruda’s work intrigued me because it doesn’t hold back; his poems come at you full throttle with sensuality, boldness, and honesty. The outright
deliciousness of these poems is just one of many reasons to read them.
What is your favorite Neruda Poem?
My favorite Neruda poem would definitely have to be "Explico algunas cosas", or “I'll Explain a Few Things.” Neruda paints a picturesque image of a simple Spain before the Civil War with flowers, movement, and daily life that flips when he begins to talk about what the Civil War itself did to the country. I love it because it is a classic Neruda piece and he uses multiple interrelated metaphors and ideas to get to the same end...the beauty and destruction of a beloved country.
I usually have trouble choosing a favorite of anything, so I’ll stay with “Algunas Bestias" (“Some Beasts”), the poem I translated for Who Do You Love? Coming early in Canto General and invoking pre-human circumstances, this poem conveys the fierce innocence of the natural world.
Why should be people read Neruda today?
Neruda will always be relevant. He was a masterful poet that could tell amazing stories in such brevity. His poems themselves had different styles and a huge range of topics, but were always honest and true to themselves. I think his honesty and wisdom are what will forever drive his relevance for artists today.
To learn more about PhillyCAM, visit their homepage.