In his work a continent awakens to consciousness," wrote the Swedish Academy in awarding the Nobel Prize to Pablo Neruda, author of more than thirty-five books of poetry and one of Latin America's most revered writers and political figures-a loyal member of the Communist party, a lifelong diplomat and onetime senator, a man lionized during his lifetime as "the people's poet."
Born Neftali Basoalto, Neruda adopted his pen name in fear of his family's disapproval, and yet by the age of twenty-five he was already famous for the book Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, which remains his most beloved. During the next fifty years, a seemingly boundless metaphorical language linked his romantic fantasies and the fierce moral and political compass-exemplified in books such as Canto General-that made him an adamant champion of the dignity of ordinary men and women.
Edited and with an introduction by Ilan Stavans, this is the most comprehensive single-volume collection of this prolific poet's work in English. Here the finest translations of nearly six hundred poems by Neruda are collected and join specially commissioned new translations that attest to Neruda's still-resounding presence in American letters.
This bilingual selection of more than fifty of Neruda's best poems, edited and with an introduction by the distinguished Latin American scholar Ilan Stavans and brilliantly translated by an array of well-known poets, also includes some poems previously unavailable in English. I Explain a Few Things distills the poet's brilliance to its most essential and illuminates Neruda's commitment to using the pen as a calibrator for his age.