Published Monthly

Book Review: The Essential Neruda
Reviewed by Michael Haislip

City Lights has issued this newly translated collection of poems from Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda. Consider it a “greatest hits” collection. The work masterfully spans the life of the Chilean poet, thanks to the sparkling translations and excellent poem selection. The book begins with his earlier works, and progresses into his later years, when he was active in the worldwide communist movement.

Neruda had the rare ability to write sappy love poems and make them sound good. From the poem, “I can write the saddest verses”:

I can write the saddest verses tonight.
Write, for example “The night is shattered with stars, twinkling blue, in the distance.”
The night wind spins in the sky and sings.
I can write the saddest verses tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Whether you’re a hopeless romantic, a communist sympathizer, or just a fan of good poetry, there’s something for everyone in this collection. This is the best collection of verse to be published in a while.

As usual, buying this book through Amazon earns us a few cents. Help us, or we might resort to PBS-style pledge drives, and you won’t even get a tote bag.

Michael Haislip is the editor of AntiMuse. For 6 years, he published the cult favorite American Assassin magazine, churning out almost 1000 pages of commentary and humor in that span. In his spare time, Michael is a freelance writer and musician. He also wishes it known that he has the longest biography out of all the staff writers.


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