Isla Negra Author:Pablo Neruda Although Neruda's prose memoirs were published in 1974, the year following his death, he had already published, ten years previously, a kind of poetic autobiography, "Memoria de Isla Negra." In over a hundred poems, he set out to explore his landscape, his roots, and his experience, in an attempt to gather within a single compass the various "l... more »ives" or "selves" he had left behind him in a huge span of his writing existence.
Written as they were in Neruda's "autumnal" period, from the vantage point of Isla Negra, a small village on the Pacific coast of Chile which he came to regard as the center of his world, these poems vary widely in substance and manner. The book has no strict chronology, but moves, in the manner of a random notebook, through childhood impressions and awakenings, through early loves and travels and the dawning of political awareness, toward self-scruitiny and self-definition, while embracing the apparent contradictions of Neruda's variegated life. Neruda had the ability to retain his past as a vivid present, and occasions sharply remembered were as much the stuff of his poems as were present perceptions. "Isla Negra" reads like a series of notes in which present and past interact, and is perhaps the most self-confronting of all his collections, the most encompasing of all his later work, and hence a crucial part of the Neruda canon.« less