Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Neruda became known as a poet while still a teenager. He wrote in a variety of styles including surrealist poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and erotically-charged love poems such as the ones in his 1924 collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. He often wrote in green ink, which was his personal symbol for desire and hope.
The Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” Harold Bloom included Neruda as one of the 26 writers central to the Western tradition in his book The Western Canon
“Pablo had a very rich and tumultuous life and reminds us of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, who had similar periods of exile and ostrasization and yet he continued to write and compose poetry which spoke of general masses and of a better world,” said Raza Rumi, writer and intellectual.
To commemorate his 40th death anniversary, a literary session titled “Remembering Pablo Neruda” featuring some of his poetical works was held at Kuch Khaas, in Islamabad, last September.
At the event, P Miranda, a Spanish journalist based in Islamabad, read out some of Neruda’s poems in Spanish, followed by their English translation. Javaid Hassan Aly, a former bureaucrat and writer, rendered some of the poems in English. Broadcaster and Journalist Murtaza Solangi read out some Urdu translations of Pablo’s work, including the soul-stirring “Aaj shab mein likh sakta hoon” by the Holland-based Pakistani writer Shamoon Saleem, who had sent in the work especially for the event.
The link below showcases the readings at the event: