Pablo Neruda was born Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto in Ferral, Chile on July 12, 1904. In 1923 he sold all of his possessions to finance the publication of his first book, Crepusculario (Twilight), which he published under the pseudonym Pablo Neruda. Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair), which was published the following year, made him a celebrity and allowed him to stop his studies to devote himself to poetry. His other works include España en el Corazón, Canto General, Las Uvas y el Viento, and Para Nacer He Nacido. He received numerous awards including the World Peace Prize with Paul Robeson and Pablo Picasso in 1950, the Lenin Peace Prize and the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953, and the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poetry in 1971. He died of leukemia on September 23, 1973.
Charged with sensuality and passion, Pablo Neruda’s love poems caused a scandal when published anonymously in 1952. In later editions, these verses became the most celebrated of the Noble Prize winner’s oeuvre, captivating readers with earthbound images that reveal in gentle lingering lines an erotic re-imagining of the world through the prism of a lover’s body: "today our bodies became vast, they grew to the edge of the world / and rolled melting / into a single drop / of wax or meteor...." Written on the paradisal island of Capri, where Neruda "took refuge" in the arms of his lover Matilde Urrutia, Love Poems embraces the seascapes around them, saturating the images of endless shores and waves with a new, yearning eroticism. This wonderful book collects Neruda’s most passionate verses.