Chilean poet; winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
Autograph Manuscript Signed, six pages, quarto, Paris, February 1972. In Spanish. Written in green ink.
“Volcanoes and blizzards of the great south of America-of South America-all have been good teachers for us, little guards born in that distant silence. I will never forget the explosions of burning light, the trembling of the earth that imposed itself over the mountain range, over the brilliant show, over human terror, new forms newly detached from the terrestrial uterus. Likewise, as the planet cracked, white rivers came down from the solemn heights, depositing colossal figures in the water, children of the stormy blizzards.
“This is the way Alicia Penalba learned how to build stars. She makes them from stone or silver, from gold, wood, but always taking them from the original magma or the eternal whiteness. Her wrinkled and explosive creations preserve the original seal of that silence, of that thunder which destroys and creates. The streets of the world, the cities mark their artists with indelible ink, from the shop or boutique. Those that come from space go on, marked in front by storm, by fire, by cold, and by geography. And those on the powerful brow of Penalba, the signs I knew, way over there in the highest transparency or in the natal darkness-natural signs of greatness.”
Pablo Neruda is serving as the Chilean ambassador to France when he writes this manuscript, four months after he is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and a year and a half before he dies of cancer. The imagery of the present manuscript draws on the extreme natural events of his native land: volcanic eruptions, violent earthquakes, and tsunamis originating along major faults of the ocean floor. Fierce winter storms and flash floods alternate with severe summer droughts. Among the great earthquakes that have struck the world is the earthquake that shook Chile in 1960; it extended over a distance of about 1,100 kilometers along the southern Chilean coast. Casualties included about 5,700 killed and 3,000 injured. Neruda’s biographer Volodia Teitelboim tells us, “He is in Paris when news comes of the cataclysmic 1960 earthquake which has desolated his southern lands, sweeping away Puerto Saavedra in an expression of volcanic rage and contentious geological plates. The sea, which devoured the breakwater, washed in through windows and tumbled towers and bells. The quaking nation will have to be rebuilt. Pablo Neruda sets himself to the task while still in Europe, enlisting poetry and painting to rebuild a wall, a door, a village fragment.”
Housed in a custom designed folder.
This item is associated with the following category in our inventory:
- Literature – Other