Carlos Arredondo's Fabula
For A Better Understanding of Latin America

Pablo Neruda

This communist Nobel laureate poet and the writer of Viginti Poemata Amatoria Cantumque Desperationis, is entrenched in Chilean culture and in the imagination of many Scots intellectuals: Pablo Neruda is one of the 20th century's greatest poets in any language. Sara Wheeler the writer of "Travels in a thin country" will disagree but I know that the Colombian writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, will agree. It will be an impossible task for any Chilean, involved in cultural activities related to his/her country, to leave out the formidable poet. "Canto General" is a fearsome poetry book depicting the history of America. "Canto…en General" is a witty poetry book written by the "Poeta Popular" El canela who depict in verses the history of General Pinochet. The year 2004 was the centenary of his birth and to mark the occasion I organized several commemorative events in Edinburgh. The Scottish Poetry Library also organised one event with the Scot poet Alastair Reid. I was invited to take part in this event. I also wrote a song for Neruda and an extensive poem outlining Neruda's life, which are listed below. The Edinburgh Hispanic Festival of 2004 was another occasion for me to take the poet on stage. Click here ( 1 2 ) to read a long letter addressed to me from the playwright Tom McGrath, Director in 1974 of the well known Glasgow Art gallery: The Third Eye Centre. Please note Tom's solidarity with the People of Chile and his interest with our poet.


My own homage to the poet to commemorate the centenary of his birth in 2004

Song for Pablo Neruda (2004)

Una imaginada conversacion con Pable Neruda (poem, 2004)

An imaginary conversation with Pablo Neruda (translation of the above poem by J. Gillies)

The following are some visual material I used in June 2004 for the centenary celebrations in Edinburgh at the Scottish Poetry Library. I was the organiser of this intimate and successful event. We have an audience of about 40 people, the capacity of the S.P.L.

Programme with the names of the participants which includes the poets John. Manson, John Law, John. Gillies, Jiim C. Wilson, Rab Wilson, the composer Edward McGuire and Philip O'Brien (First president of the Chilean Solidarity Campaign in Scotland in 1974) and the musicologists Jan Fairley.

The Scottish poet John Law presented us, in the Scots tongue, some extracts of Neruda's poem Alturas de Macchu Picchu. He has been working very hard to achieve this unique feat.

John Law's Alturas de Macchu Picchu in Scots

Here we have a Scottish poet translating and publishing into the Scott tongue a long poem taking from Neruda's great work Canto General published in Mexico in 1950.

Other activities organised by me and related to the centenary included: The Hispanic Festival 2004 and the Edinburgh Spanish Circle.

Scottish connections with the poet
The poet Alastair Reid (A Heart supporter) was a friend of Pablo Neruda and become one of the best translators of his work into English (a difficult task). John Manson is also a fine poet and he too has done translations of Neruda's work. I mentioned John Law working hard translating Alturas de Macchu Picchu into Scots. The composer William Sweeney set music to EL Pueblo a work by the Chilean poet.

During the 1997 Edinburgh's Book Festival events around the figure of Pablo Neruda were organized: Alastair Reid was a guest speaker, I was a singer guest, the Chilean Ambassador to Britain Mr Artazar gave a talk, the academic and friend of Neruda Robert Pring-Mill gave a talk, the Chilean photographer Luis Poirot presented his photographic book "Pablo Neruda Absence and Presence".


© Carlos Arredondo 2007