cover image Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda

Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda

Pablo Neruda, trans. from the Spanish by Forrest Gander. Copper Canyon (Consortium, dist.), $23 (160p) ISBN 978-1-55659-494-6

Recently discovered within the “jungle of the poet’s manuscripts,” these 21 untitled and previously unpublished poems, produced between the early 1950s and Neruda’s 1973 death, continue his tradition of political engagement, love of homeland, and exaltations of nature and romantic love. Several poems coincide with his period of odes, including one to his Chilean compatriots: “My people/ never hold back,” he writes, “they know/ hard times,/ and they go on.” Ever the romantic, Neruda describes a lover as one who has “come from a race of wild roses” and through whose kiss “my lips came to know fire.” He addresses his younger self with wise words for any would-be poet: “keep your silence/ until the words/ ripen” and “arrive into your radiance,/ without forgetting the state/ of oblivion.” Poem 19 offers comic relief as an anti-ode to the telephone, the “black apparatus/ that even with its silence insults me.” These captivating poems are presented separately in English and Spanish, and annotated with contextual notes and background information including dates, interpretations, and descriptions of the documents themselves. This is Neruda at his finest, his eloquence and passion skillfully arranged in an accessible yet profound package. Illus. (Apr.)