When Was Pablo Neruda Born

Early Life

Pablo Neruda was born on July 12th, 1904 in a small village called Parral, situated in the Linares province of Southern Chile. The poet was originally known as Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, after his father’s surname, although from an early age he would sign his first name as ‘Pablo’ in memory of the Czech poet Jan Neruda, whom he admired. He took the name Neruda as part of his pseudonym when he wrote the book of poetry ‘Crepusculario’ in 1923.

Neruda spent most of his childhood in small fishing villages of the Chilean coast. Being born into a working-class family, his parents could not pay for his formal education and he developed an interest in poetry and literature notably than other school subjects. He wished to be an astronomer like his father, however since he had no access to telescopes he replaced them with books as he grew older. When Neruda was 13 years old, he published his first work in the newspaper La Mañana, titled ‘La manyá de las noches’ (‘The Old Woman of the Night’).

Significance and Achievements

The cultural, social, and political ups and downs of Neruda’s life can be seen throughout his works, as he commented on both global and Chilean society, emphasising in particular the ideas of social justice and beauty. He acknowledged his role as a poet in bringing out awareness and change within society, which is seen in the poem “Yo, Sí Habité En El Paraíso” (“I Lived For A Time in Paradise”).

Though Neruda wrote mainly in Spanish he learnt the French language to increase his literary capabilities and published his works outside of the Spanish-speaking market. His works have been interpreted in many other languages and made him a popular poet all around the world. His books have attracted millions, for example, three of his poetry collections have been acquired by millions of readers in Spain. Neruda died at the Santoral Clinic in Santiago de Chile on September 23, 1973.

Nobel Prize

After numerous publications and recognition of his works, Neruda received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1971. This prize was not welcomed by the Chilean political elite of the time, which considered that his public endorsement during the Communist Presidential candidacy of Salvador Allende in 1970 removed any merit to his literature.

Nonetheless, Nobel’s committee did not view it this way and stated the following in the press release “for a poetry that with the action of an arid love surrounded the visible world with and created images of a healthy beauty”. This has been seen as a strong symbol of his commitment to break the cultural and social walls imposed by the Cold War and his longing for a world unifying in peace and common understanding.

Style and Influence

Throughout his poetic works, Neruda explored different topics such as love and life, human rights and nature, death and freedom. His works have a wide range of topics that emphasise his diverse interests, from Romanticism to Surrealism. His works are known to be rich in imagery, metaphor and symbolism, appealing to readers of different backgrounds. His amazing poetic talent and mastery of his craft produce a surreal feel which makes his poems timeless.

Neruda’s influence extends beyond his own work; it can be seen in Latin American writing as a whole. Many Latin American writers of subsequent generations were influenced by Neruda’s poetry, including Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa and Spanish poet Antonio Machado. Neruda’s influence continues even today through the continuing popularity of his works.


Neruda’s legacy is felt in the world of poetry and literature, influencing future generations of writers and poets. His collection of Nueve Canciones (“Nine Songs”) has been adapted for music, and numerous books have been written about his life and work. His impact can also be seen in the way in which his was able to use his platform to speak out against the injustices and inequalities of his time, inspiring change and creative expression.

Neruda was a prolific poet and his works are still appreciated and read today, for their social and political messages, for their lyrical and poetic beauty, and for their devotion to love and nature. He has been recognised as one of the greats of Latin American poetry and his works can be found in libraries, museums, and universities around the world.


On July 12, 2004, to commemorate the centenary of Neruda’s birth, the Chilean Senate and Chamber of Deputies issued an official communiqué. This document dedicated nearly a page praising the poet and expressing a “profound sense of recognition and gratitude to this great Chilean”. In addition, it ordered a “Special Semester” be devoted to his study.

Neruda was originally buried in Isla Negra, a coastal village close to his beloved ocean. In 2015, after an investigation conducted by the Chilean authorities, Neruda’s body was exhumed and his remains were examined for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Since then, his remains have been reburied at the General Cemetery of Santiago, Chile.

Awards and Honours

Neruda was one of Chile’s most awarded poets; he received various prizes during his lifetime, including the French Legion of Honour (1953), the Lenin Peace Prize (1953), the International Peace Prize (1968), and the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971). Other notable awards he received include being named Honorary Member of the Academy of Letters of Rome, the Alfonso Reyes Prize, and the International Feltrinelli Prize. In 1997, he was posthumously granted with Chile’s highest distinction, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.

Today, Neruda’s works are taught in school curriculums in Latin America, Spain, and Italy; which demonstrates the significance and impact of his writings. His works have been critically acclaimed, and his spirit of creativity and freedom live on with his poems that remain timeless.

Amenities Named After Neruda

The memory of Neruda is kept alive worldwide. More than 1000 years after his birth, many cities, universities, and restaurants have incorporated his name in tribute to him. The most well-known being the university campus of Santiago, Chile “Universidad de Chile” and the Innsbruck Museum “Museo Pablo Neruda”, amongst others.

Neruda left an influential legacy both in Latin America and globally; thus, it is not surprising that many amenities continue to include his name today in honor of his works.

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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