Winter Garden

Pablo Neruda, Author, William O'Daly, Translator
Pablo Neruda, Author, William O'Daly, Translator Copper Canyon Press $10 (80p) ISBN 978-0-914742-93-7
Reviewed on: 09/29/1986
Release date: 10/01/1986
The passing reference in ""Gautama Christ'' to Richard Nixon and napalm is a rare reminder of the fate of the Nobel laureate, who died during the 1973 coup in Chile that overthrew President Salvador Allende and brought General Pinochet to power. Otherwise, these poems are elegantly timeless and fresh. A poet torn between the joys of solitude and his sense of duty as a spokesman for humanity, Neruda raises his voice in praise of the ``common virtues,'' modesty, the obscurity and nobility of the unknown citizen: ``It smells good to turn our face/ only in the direction of purity.'' At the same time, few poets in any language have written more moving hymns to Mother Earth and the beauty of her seasons. Although the musicality of Neruda's softly liquid Spanish is ineluctably lost in translation, O'Daly has made a noble effort to retain both the literal sense of the poet's words and his awe-inspiring tone. This is the third in a series of translations of the poet's final eight volumes, which remained unpublished at his death and only now are being brought into English. (December)
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