Archive for April, 2009

Pablo Neruda still looks toward the Sea

April 8, 2009

Pics and text Adrián Soto

Neruda and his wife Matilde ramains in the garden of Isla Negra. © A.Soto

Neruda and his wife Matilde ramains in the garden of Isla Negra. © A.Soto

Pablo Neruda was 34 years old in 1938, when he returned to Chile from the Spanish civil war. Previously he had been working in Asia as a diplomat. At that time his names was already well known in literary circles. In cost of Central Chile, he saw and immediately fell in love, with a place on which huge black rocks stands on the shore of seaside beaten by the tireless Pacific Ocean´s waves.
Because of the rocks, he named the place is Isla Negra, Black Island. With the help of local carpenters Neruda started to build his house. In that house he composed some of his major works like “The Heights of Machu Pichu” and “The Captain’s Verses”
Sometime later Neruda wrote: “For me the sea is cleaner than the land. For that reason I decided to live in my home country in the coast, on Isla Negra, next to the foam of the great waves”. The house was never built ready. With time, new rooms and wings where added, so it became a sort of wooden labyrinth, with huge windows facing the sea.

The house became a pilgrim destination for Latin American intellectuals. Many memorable literary parties took place there. Neruda was with his third wife, Matilde Urrutia in 1971,when the news came from Stockholm that the Swedish Academy had granted him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Later on the poet was serving as ambassador of Chile in Paris when he was diagnosed cancer. He died in Santiago on September 1973, only two weeks after a bloody military coup overthrew his friend Salvador Allende from the country´s Presidency.
The house was closed down during the long period of military dictatorship. When democracy came back to Chile in 1989, the Pablo Neruda foundation turned the house into a museum. The human remains of Neruda and his wife were brought to Isla Negra and buried in the garden looking out to the sea.
Neruda foundation: http://www.neruda.cl
In 2013, following allegations that Neruda death was caused by poison, his human remains were exhumed. The same year in November, a team of 15 international forensic team stated that not chemical substances were found a cause of Neruda´s death.
Isla Negra is located some 120 Kms from the Capital city, Santiago. The road is good and a few steps from the Home-Museum there is a lovely lodging place but a little costly: Hosteria Candela. Nearby there are a number of more economic B&Bs.

The ships bells always tolled when the poet arrived home.  © A.Soto

The ships bells always tolled when the poet arrived home. © A.Soto


The ex-libri fish is the symbol of Neruda.  © A.Soto

The ex-libri fish is the symbol of Nerudian universe. © A.Soto


Nerudo wrote some of its major work in Isla Negra.  © A.Soto

Neruda wrote some of his major works in Isla Negra. © A.Soto

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