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Pablo Neruda was known as a poet and ambassador of the Chilean people. During a time of social upheaval, he traveled the world as a diplomat and an exile, served as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Party, and published more than 35,000 pages of poetry in his native Spanish.
See the fact file below for more information on the Pablo Neruda or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Pablo Neruda Day worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Pablo Neruda was the pen name of Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, born July 12, 1904 in the town of Parral in the Maule Region in Chile.
- His father, Jose del Carmen Reyes Morales, was a railway employee and his mother, Rosa Basoalto Opazo was a school teacher who died of tuberculosis 2 months after Pablo, their first and only child, was born.
- Soon after his wife’s death, Jose moved his family to Temuco and married Trinidad Candia Malverde a few years later.
- Neruda attended the Men’s Lyceum of Temuco where he completed high school. There, he published his first poems Entusiasmo y Perseverancia in the regional daily La Mañana when he was 13.
- In 1918, he published 13 poems in the journal “Run and Fly” and in 1919, he won third prize in a local writing contest with his poem Nocturno ideal.
- Neruda’s father opposed his son’s interest in writing. Nevertheless Neruda found support in his school teachers.
- At age 15, Neruda met Gabriela Mistral who was a teacher in the local girl’s school. She introduced him to the work of European poets and particularly Russian literature which influenced him the most.
- Because Neruda wanted to hide his publications from his father he chose the pseudonym of Pablo Neruda. All future publications after October 1920 were published under that name.
- A Czech poet, Jan Neruda (1834-1891), inspired the young poet and so he took his last name. Later he legally changed his name to Pablo Neruda.
- Neruda was a well-rounded student. In 1920, he became a contributor in Selva Austral, Diario Austral de Temuco and various literary student journals in Temuco.
- He also became president of the Athenaeum Literary in his high school and deputy secretary of the Student Association.
- The same year, he won the first prize for poetry in the spring festival in Temuco. He graduated high school from the Men’s Lyceum of Temuco.
- Neruda’s father wanted him to become a teacher. In 1921, when he was 16 and graduating from high school, Neruda moved to Santiago to study Education and French at the University of Chile. He had no interest in pedagogy. His passion was in learning French so that he could read French literature.
- Upon his arrival, he published a series of poems in the university magazine Claridad signed as Pablo Neruda. During this period as a student he produced some of his best known works and established his reputation as a poet.
- It was clear that Pablo wanted to pursue a career in writing so his father stopped sending money.
- In July 1923, the first edition of Crepusculario (Book of Twilights) was published in the Claridad by editors of the Student Federation of Chile.
- The following year, 1924, the first edition of Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Canción Desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) was published by Nascimento Editors, which would become one of his best-known and most translated works.
- The publication of “Twenty Love Poems” was notoriously controversial due to its eroticism and led Neruda to write an article in La Nacion, “Exegesis and loneliness”, which explained the inspiration behind it and his frustration at the lack of understanding within the literary critics.
Diplomatic Career and Political Involvement
- As a writer Neruda was facing poverty, so he began to look for a job as a consul. In 1927, Neruda began his long diplomatic career (in the Latin American tradition of honoring poets with diplomatic posts), and was able to obtain a consular job in Burma.
- He remained a regular contributor to La Nacion and, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War began. Neruda wrote about the atrocities, including the execution of his friend Federico García Lorca, in his España en el corazón (Spain in Our Hearts).
- Over the next 10 years, Neruda would leave and return to Chile several times. Along the way, he was named Chile’s consul to Mexico and won election to the Chilean Senate.
- He would also begin to attract controversy with his praise of Joseph Stalin, Fulgencio Batista, and Fidel Castro in his poems.
- Always left-leaning, Neruda joined the Communist Party of Chile in 1945, but by 1948 the Communist Party was under siege, and Neruda fled the country with his family. In 1952, the Chilean government withdrew its order to seize leftist writers and political figures, and Neruda returned to Chile once again.
- For the next 21 years, Pablo Neruda continued to write prodigiously, rising in the ranks of 20th century poets.
- He also received numerous prestigious awards, including the International Peace Prize in 1950, the Lenin Peace Prize and the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
Death and Investigations
- Neruda died just two years after receiving his Nobel Prize on September 23, 1973, in Santiago, Chile.
- Though his death was officially attributed to prostate cancer, there have been allegations that the poet was poisoned, as he died right after the rise of Augusto Pinochet to power.
- In 2011, Neruda’s chauffeur alleged that the writer said he’d been given an injection at a clinic by a physician that worsened his health.
- Chilean judge Mario Carroza later authorized an official investigation into cause of death. Neruda’s body was exhumed in 2013 and examined, but a forensics team found no initial evidence of foul play.
- However, in January 2015, the Chilean government reopened the investigation with new forensic testing. Although Judge Carroza ordered for Neruda’s body to be returned to his gravesite, the discovery of unusual bacteria in the writer’s bones indicated that the matter had yet to be fully resolved.
- In 2016, the life of the renowned poet inspired the acclaimed Chilean film Neruda, which was directed by Pablo Larraín and follows a police inspector on the hunt for Neruda as he hides to escape arrest for his Communist views.
Pablo Neruda Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Pablo Neruda across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pablo Neruda worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Pablo Neruda who was known as a poet and ambassador of the Chilean people. During a time of social upheaval, he traveled the world as a diplomat and an exile, served as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Party, and published more than 35,000 pages of poetry in his native Spanish.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Authors Online
- Judge By The Cover
- Poetry Basics
- According to Pablo
- Pablo El Viajero
- Poet of the People
- Pablo’s Journey
- Latina Power
- Tonight I Can Write…
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Link will appear as Pablo Neruda Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 28, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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