Pablo Neruda: Poems

Neruda and Impure Poetry College

“Wheels that have crossed long, dusty distances with their mineral and vegetable burdens, sacks from the coal bins, barrels, and baskets, handles and hafts for the carpenter’s tool chest. From them flow the contacts of man with the earth, like a text for all troubled lyricists. . . . In them one sees the confused impurity of the human condition . . . A poetry impure as the clothing we wear, or our bodies . . . the deep penetration of things in the transports of love, a consummate poetry soiled by the pigeon’s claw, ice-marked and tooth-marked, bitten delicately with our sweatdrops and usage . . . Melancholy, old mawkishness impure and unflawed, fruits of a fabulous species lost to the memory . . . surely that is the poet’s concern, essential and absolute.” (Neruda)

Pablo Neruda delineates his poetic doctrine in Toward an Impure Poetry, as a tacit reactionary statement against accusations of banality and morbidity. Therein, he justifies his work as that of a contemporary poet, emphasizing upon relevance and purpose. For unlike the stereotypical hermetic poet, Neruda was a politically conscious artist, who refused to be content with detached aestheticism and introversion. He deemed such traditional poetic notions as escapism in...

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