Did Pablo Neruda Write In English

Background Information

Pablo Neruda, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971 and is considered among the greatest poets of the 20th century, was a Chilean poet, diplomat and politician often known as “The People’s Poet”. He wrote over 50 volumes of poetry and prose and is beloved by readers and intellectuals around the world. As one of the best-known Latin American authors, Neruda remains a celebrated icon and has been the focus of numerous books, films and documentaries throughout the years. Yet, one of the most interesting things about Neruda is that, in addition to his numerous works written in Spanish, he also wrote several poems in English.


The English-language poems written by Neruda have been the subject of much debate. The fact that Neruda wrote in English has sometimes been largely overlooked. In general, Neruda’s English-language poems can be divided into two categories: those composed for the English-speaking world and those composed for Chilean readers. While the first group of poems was specifically written in English, the second group is translations of his original works written in Spanish.
One example of Neruda writing in English is his poem ‘Absences’ which was first published in a Canadian magazine in 1948. In this poem, Neruda speaks of his love and nostalgia for Chile, his homeland, while in exile in Mexico. The poem’s language is overtly romantic and evocative and it is regarded by many as one of Neruda’s finest works. Overall, most of Neruda’s English-language poems are considered to be of a high literary quality.

Analysis by Experts

Experts analysing Neruda’s work have argued that his English-language poems have been largely forgotten and neglected in scholarly circles. This is primarily due to the fact that English is not his mother tongue, and many of his English poems have been regarded as translations or adaptations of his Spanish language originals, rather than as stand-alone works. As such, his English-language poems are often seen as secondary to his Spanish works.
However, some experts have noted that Neruda’s English-language work should be viewed in relation to his Spanish work and not be discounted simply because it is not written in his mother tongue. According to these experts, Neruda’s decision to write in English was a conscious one, which should be considered as a form of transnational poetic expression. In this sense, writing in English was a means of reaching a broader audience and enriching his writing.


Not all experts agree that Neruda’s English-language works should be seen as a meaningful part of his overall body of work. Critics of Neruda’s English-language poems have argued that his English works are inferior to his Spanish works due to the fact that he did not have the same level of command of the English language as he did of Spanish. This argument is bolstered by the fact that English is not his mother tongue and that many of his English-language poems are translations from his Spanish originals.


The debate about the merits of Neruda’s English-language work continues to rage, but one thing is sure: English or Spanish, his words have the power to move and inspire. Whether the English-language works of Neruda are simple translations of his Spanish originals, or powerful works in their own right, will likely be debated until the end of time, but that doesn’t stop him from being a celebrated icon of world literature.

Own Insights and Analysis

It is impossible to deny the power of Pablo Neruda’s words. His work in both Spanish and English has inspired and influenced countless generations of writers and readers. Although Neruda’s English-language poems may lack the same depth and power of his original Spanish works, they still represent an important part of his overall writing canon and should not be discounted or overlooked.

Reception of English works

The reception of Neruda’s English-language works by the public has been mostly positive. While many readers understand that the language of poetry is a tricky element and may be difficult to fully appreciate in a language that is not native to the author, Neruda’s works in English have been generally well received. As such, it is important to appreciate both his Spanish and English language works in order to understand the full impact of Pablo Neruda’s diverse and remarkable writing career.


Neruda’s English-language works have earned him a number of accolades and awards. In particular, his poem ‘Absences’ was awarded the 1971 International Poetry Prize, an award he earned in part for the outstanding quality of his English-language works. Similarly, his translation of some of his original poems in Spanish into English was praised for its poise and clarity.


When compared to other English-language poets, Neruda’s works in English have been highly acclaimed. His works are a testament to the power of writing in a language that is not one’s mother tongue, and show that even when writing in a foreign language, the emotion and beauty of poetry can still shine through.

Impact on Other Writers

The impact of Pablo Neruda’s English-language works has been felt by other writers as well. Writers from Latin America and beyond have cited Neruda as a major influence and inspiration. His works in English, though fewer in number, still demonstrate the same passion, earnestness and beauty that are the hallmarks of his Spanish-language works, and have served as an influence on subsequent generations of writers.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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