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Online Event

Neruda: Love and Politics, with Indran Amirthanayagam

Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 6:00 PM Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 6:00 PM Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 6:00 PM Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 6:00 PM
On the Zoom Meetings platform | open to the public | $30 for the remaining two sessions | registration required

When Ricardo Reyes took the name of Pablo Neruda, he started the most brilliant career in modern world poetry. He lived for 69 years and left more than 3,000 pages of published poems. He wrote the Spanish language's most beautiful and successful book of love poems, and he covered ecology, politics, the surreal, and existence with his pen. He was a natural force, a river, an ocean, fire, and thunder and a man subject to human frailty. As a young consul he came to my native Ceylon, sparking in me a lifelong passion for diplomacy and poetry, which led to my own diplomatic journey towards his remote Chile.

In this seminar we will dive deep into Neruda the Lover, Neruda the Surrealist, Neruda the Political Observer, and Neruda the Existentialist, through his Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair, to Residence on Earth, to his Elemental Odes, and to his late philosophy, distilled in The Book of Questions. Neruda, like Shakespeare or Homer, offers the reader an ocean and an oasis where one can spend a lifetime drinking metaphors, eating crabs, oysters, and sea bass, and drinking wine. We will define the various Nerudas and understand how his poetry breaks down prejudices and limitations, how it inspires the reader to break mental shackles, to eliminate phobias, to feel more deeply the rhythms and currents of human and all other life on the planet.

Books to be referenced include

  • The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, ed. Ilan Stavans (ISBN-13 978-0-374-52960-4)
  • Pablo Neruda, The Book Of Questions
  • Pablo Neruda, Extravagaria

Indran Amirthanayagam produced a “world record” in 2020, publishing three poetry collections written in three different languages. He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. He has published twenty-two poetry books, including Isleño (R.I.L. Editores), Blue Window (translated by Jennifer Rathbun, Diálogos Books), Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks.com), The Migrant States, Coconuts on Mars, The Elephants of Reckoning (winner 1994 Paterson Poetry Prize), Uncivil War, and The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems. In music, he recorded Rankont Dout.

He edits the Beltway Poetry Quarterly; blogs; co-directs Poets & Writers Studio International, writes a weekly poem for Haiti en Marche and El Acento; and has received fellowships from the Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The US/Mexico Fund for Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He is a 2021 Emergent Seed grant winner. His poem “Free Bird” has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He also hosts The Poetry Channel on YouTube. New books including Powèt nan po la (Poet of the Port) and Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia, will be published in 2022. He publishes poetry books in partnership with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.

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