Pablo Neruda was an iconic and notable poet who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, but where did he grow up?
Pablo Neruda was born in Chile, in a city called Parral. Shortly after his birth and the death of his mother, Neruda’s father relocated to Temuco, some two hundred miles away. By the age of sixteen, Neruda would be living in Santiago, the capital of Chile.
Read on to learn more about the impressive upbringing of Pablo Neruda.
Child Prodigy Poet
Pablo Neruda isn’t a common, household name but for those that knew him, he was legendary. Born in Chile in 1904 to a railwayman father and a mother that taught in a school, Pablo Neruda would quickly need to grow up.
His mother tragically passed just two months after he was born. Neruda’s father, José, relocated the small family two hundred miles north, to Temuco. Bizarrely, he remarried to a woman he’d already had a child with some years prior to Pablo’s birth.
Growing up in early-20th century Chile, Neruda found expression and natural talent in writing. In 1914, at just ten years old, he began writing his poetry. It’s reported that Pablo’s father heavily disapproved of his son’s interest in writing and literature. In fact, the name Pablo Neruda was created as a pseudonym, to keep José from learning about his son’s poetry publications.
Opting to move away from his family once his childhood was all but wrapped up, Pablo relocated to Santiago when he was sixteen. He moved to the capital of Chile to pursue further education, deciding to study French at a national University.
Allegedly, Pablo’s original intention was to become a teacher, following in the footsteps of the mother he likely knew very little about. Ultimately this wouldn’t be the case, as shortly after relocating, Neruda began focusing solely on poetry.
Owing to a chance meeting with a prominent publisher in Chile, Neruda became published at a young age. When he was just eighteen, Neruda boasted critical acclaim, having written some of his best work. The first publication would become his best selling work. Not only that, but it would also be ranked as the best-selling poetry book in Spanish over one hundred years later.
Strangely, despite his considerable success, Neruda experienced financial difficulties in his early twenties. At his lowest point, he faced literal poverty. It was in 1927 that Neruda would take drastic measures to ensure his survival.
To Distant Lands
In ordero survival financial ruin, Pablo Neruda took a job that would lead him far overseas. In 1927, he ended up in Rangoon, in what is now known as Myanmar. He had never heard of the location previously, and ended up living in extreme loneliness.
He would eventually travel further, exploring Sri Lanka and Singapore among other places. In Indonesia, he met his first wife, with whom he’d have his first and only child in 1934. While also working on poetry, Neruda gravitated towards politics. He took diplomatic roles in Argentina and Spain, while still circulating among prominent poets of the era.
Travelling further still, Neruda ended up exploring France, Mexico, Peru and Brazil, among many other countries. He would find momentary struggle throughout his travels, particularly during an event in 1948 known as ‘Yo acuso’.
Neruda gave a damning speech against the Chilean Senate, who had imprisoned workers that had led strikes in concentration camps. Neruda named these prisoners and condemned the Senate’s actions, leading to a need for the poet to seek exile.
He used a friend’s passport to flee the country, and wound up in Paris. Following his escape, Neruda travelled extensively, ultimately returning to Chile some years later. After this incredible life, Pablo Neruda capped it off by winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. Two years later, at the age of 69, he passed away.
There’s a great TED talk that can be viewed on YouTube, discussing the influence and impact of Pablo Neruda’s poetry. Meanwhile, on Twitter, you can see an example of Pablo Neruda’s work being read in its native Spanish.