53 Facts About Pablo Neruda


Pablo Neruda, was a Chilean poet-diplomat and politician who won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.


Pablo Neruda occupied many diplomatic positions in various countries during his lifetime and served a term as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Party.


Pablo Neruda was a close advisor to Chile's socialist President Salvador Allende, and, when he got back to Chile after accepting his Nobel Prize in Stockholm, Allende invited him to read at the Estadio Nacional before 70,000 people.


Pablo Neruda was hospitalized with cancer in September 1973, at the time of the coup d'etat led by Augusto Pinochet that overthrew Allende's government, but returned home after a few days when he suspected a doctor of injecting him with an unknown substance for the purpose of murdering him on Pinochet's orders.


Pablo Neruda died at his home in Isla Negra on 23 September 1973, just hours after leaving the hospital.


The bacteria were likely injected by medical personnel while Pablo Neruda was in a hospital, as he had told his chauffeur Manuel Araya on a phone call shortly before his death.


Pablo Neruda is often considered the national poet of Chile, and his works have been popular and influential worldwide.


Pablo Neruda grew up in Temuco with Rodolfo and a half-sister, Laura Herminia "Laurita", from one of his father's extramarital affairs.


Pablo Neruda composed his first poems in the winter of 1914.


Pablo Neruda's father opposed his son's interest in writing and literature, but he received encouragement from others, including the future Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral, who headed the local school.


In 1921, at the age of 16, Pablo Neruda moved to Santiago to study French at the Universidad de Chile with the intention of becoming a teacher.


Pablo Neruda later succeeded Gabriela Mistral as consul in Madrid, where he became the center of a lively literary circle, befriending such writers as Rafael Alberti, Federico Garcia Lorca, and the Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo.


Pablo Neruda's only offspring, his daughter Malva Marina Reyes, was born in Madrid in 1934, the product of his first marriage to Maria Antonia Hagenaar.


Pablo Neruda died in 1943, having spent most of her short life with a foster family in the Netherlands after Neruda ignored and abandoned her, forcing her mother to work to solely support her care.


Pablo Neruda became an ardent Communist for the rest of his life.


Pablo Neruda lost his post as consul due to his political militancy.


Pablo Neruda's estranged wife moved to Monte Carlo to escape the hostilities in Spain and then to the Netherlands with their very ill only child, and he never saw either of them again.


Pablo Neruda is sometimes charged with having selected only fellow Communists for emigration, to the exclusion of others who had fought on the side of the Republic.


In 1940, after the failure of an assassination attempt against Leon Trotsky, Pablo Neruda arranged a Chilean visa for the Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros, who was accused of having been one of the conspirators in the assassination.


Pablo Neruda later said that he did it at the request of the Mexican President, Manuel Avila Camacho.


In 1943, after his return to Chile, Pablo Neruda made a tour of Peru, where he visited Machu Picchu, an experience that later inspired Alturas de Macchu Picchu, a book-length poem in 12 parts that he completed in 1945 and which expressed his growing awareness of, and interest in, the ancient civilizations of the Americas.


Pablo Neruda explored this theme further in Canto General.


On 4 March 1945, Pablo Neruda was elected a Communist Senator for the northern provinces of Antofagasta and Tarapaca in the Atacama Desert.


Pablo Neruda officially joined the Communist Party of Chile four months later.


In 1946, the Radical Party's presidential candidate, Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, asked Pablo Neruda to act as his campaign manager.


Gonzalez Videla was supported by a coalition of left-wing parties and Pablo Neruda fervently campaigned on his behalf.


The breaking point for Senator Pablo Neruda was the violent repression of a Communist-led miners' strike in Lota in October 1947, when striking workers were herded into island military prisons and a concentration camp in the town of Pisagua.


In 1959, Pablo Neruda was present as Fidel Castro was honored at a welcoming ceremony offered by the Central University of Venezuela where he spoke to a massive gathering of students and read his Canto a Bolivar.


Luis Baez summarized what Pablo Neruda said: "In this painful and victorious hour that the peoples of America live, my poem with changes of place, can be understood directed to Fidel Castro, because in the struggles for freedom the fate of a Man to give confidence to the spirit of greatness in the history of our peoples".


In Buenos Aires, Pablo Neruda took advantage of the slight resemblance between him and his friend, the future Nobel Prize-winning novelist and cultural attache to the Guatemalan embassy Miguel Angel Asturias, to travel to Europe using Asturias' passport.


Pablo Picasso arranged his entrance into Paris and Neruda made a surprise appearance there to a stunned World Congress of Peace Forces, while the Chilean government denied that the poet could have escaped the country.


Pablo Neruda spent those three years traveling extensively throughout Europe as well as taking trips to India, China, Sri Lanka, and the Soviet Union.


Matilde Urrutia was the muse for Los versos del capitan, a book of poetry which Pablo Neruda later published anonymously in 1952.


Pablo Neruda's 1952 stay in a villa owned by Italian historian Edwin Cerio on the island of Capri was fictionalized in Antonio Skarmeta's 1985 novel Ardiente Paciencia, which inspired the popular film Il Postino.


Pablo Neruda convinced the Chilean officials to lift his arrest, allowing Urrutia and Neruda to go to Capri, Italy.


Pablo Neruda vigorously denounced the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later in the decade he likewise repeatedly condemned the US for its involvement in the Vietnam War.


The campaign became more intense when it became known that Pablo Neruda was a candidate for the 1964 Nobel Prize, which was eventually awarded to Jean-Paul Sartre.


In 1966, Pablo Neruda was invited to attend an International PEN conference in New York City.


Pablo Neruda gave readings to packed halls, and even recorded some poems for the Library of Congress.


Miller later opined that Pablo Neruda's adherence to his communist ideals of the 1930s was a result of his protracted exclusion from "bourgeois society".


However, this visit prompted an unpleasant backlash; because the Peruvian government had come out against the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba, July 1966 saw more than 100 Cuban intellectuals retaliate against the poet by signing a letter that charged Pablo Neruda with colluding with the enemy, calling him an example of the "tepid, pro-Yankee revisionism" then prevalent in Latin America.


In 1970, Pablo Neruda was nominated as a candidate for the Chilean presidency, but ended up giving his support to Salvador Allende, who later won the election and was inaugurated in 1970 as Chile's first democratically elected socialist head of state.


Pablo Neruda returned to Chile two-and-a-half years later due to his failing health.


In 1971, Pablo Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize, a decision that did not come easily because some of the committee members had not forgotten Pablo Neruda's past praise of Stalinist dictatorship.


Pablo Neruda's health was declining and he called his wife, Matilde Urrutia, so she could come immediately because they were giving him something and he wasn't feeling good.


Pablo Neruda's house was broken into and his papers and books taken or destroyed.


Urrutia's own memoir, My Life with Pablo Neruda, was published posthumously in 1986.


In June 2013, a Chilean judge ordered that an investigation be launched, following suggestions that Pablo Neruda had been killed by the Pinochet regime for his pro-Allende stance and political views.


Araya claimed that he was driving Pablo Neruda to buy medicine when he was suddenly stopped by military personnel, who arrested him, hijacked the Fiat 125 he was driving and took him to police headquarters where they tortured Araya.


Pablo Neruda found out Neruda had died after Santiago Archbishop Raul Silva Henriquez informed him.


The decision sparked protests from feminist groups, who highlighted a passage in Pablo Neruda's memoirs describing an incident with a young house maid in 1929 in Ceylon.


Pablo Neruda remains a controversial figure for Chileans, and especially for Chilean feminists.


Pablo Neruda owned three houses in Chile; today they are all open to the public as museums: La Chascona in Santiago, La Sebastiana in Valparaiso, and Casa de Isla Negra in Isla Negra, where he and Matilde Urrutia are buried.