orig. Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto
(born July 12, 1904, Parral, Chile—died Sept. 23, 1973, Santiago) Chilean poet and diplomat. He began writing poetry at age 10, and at 20 he published his most widely read work, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
(1924), inspired by an unhappy love affair. In 1927 he was named an honorary consul, and he later represented Chile in several Asian and Latin American countries; late in life he was ambassador to France. While in Asia he began Residence on Earth
(1933, 1935, 1947), a verse cycle remarkable for its examination of social decay and personal isolation. In 1945 he was elected senator and joined the Communist Party; he later spent years in exile when the government turned toward the right. Canto General
(1950), his great epic poem about the American continents, was deeply influenced by Walt Whitman
and is the culminating expression of his political beliefs. Elemental Odes
(1954) celebrates common, everyday objects. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
Learn more about Neruda, Pablo with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.