6 feb. 2006

Neruda was famous for his enemies. Jiménez, Huidobro, Larrea, Bergamín, Rokha. At one point the entire country of Cuba sigend a letter denouncing him. He fought with Vallejo.

Of course, many of these enemies are also notorious for their emnities, especially Jiménez and Bergamín. Jiménez called Neruda "un gran poeta malo." Someone wrote a book entirely about Bergamín's fights. Maybe it was a conflictive period, that 20th century.

Pablo de Rokha accused Neruda of not being Marxist enough, of ignoring the aesthetic lessons of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

6 comentarios:

GJPW dijo...

Unfortunately, the XXI century is already equalling the "conflictive" aspects of the XX, with otherwise-intelligent writers such as José Saramago, Eduardo Galeano or (in Venezuela) Luis Alberto Crespo and Ana Enriqueta Terán aligning themselves with near-fascist demagogues such as Castro or Chávez.

I'm probably slightly off-topic with this but your mention of Stalin and Mao in this post reminded me of how easily it is for talented writers to become seduced by gangsters. I suppose the romance of "revolution" never fully wanes for some of them.

This might be why I find Neruda so dreadful. I have loved many of his poems (and still do) but when I think of his idiotic support for Stalin, I lose interest.

Perhaps Vallejo's weirdness (in his poems) and poverty kept him slightly more removed from writing odes to Stalin.

Jonathan dijo...

Vallejo died in 38 and so was spared the full revelations of Stalinism. I hope he would not have become an official Communist Poet like Neruda, had he lived.

Jonathan dijo...

It's easy to cast Neruda as the bad guy since his politics was so despicable. But don't blame the best of his poetry for the worst of his politics.

GJPW dijo...

Actually, I feel I owe Neruda a lot as a reader and writer. I don't reaaly think of him as a bad guy.

Maybe the thing that most turns me off to his work recently is seeing how many books of his are translated into English. Nothing wrong with that except that he ends up being seen by many American readers as the epitome of Latin American poetry, while dozens of more interesting LatAm poets are ignored. (Of course, being popular is not Neruda's fault.)

I can't help thinking of Neruda in the same way I think of Frost: a poet who helped me discover poetry but whose work I don't get excited by anymore.

In terms of the politics, well I have the same complaint about Cardenal, his sycophantic words about Castro and Chávez in recent years. And yet, I continue to read and love Cardenal's poetry. Same with the Venezuelan Luis Alberto Crespo.

Interesting to think of how a poet's political mistakes or actions change how we read them.

lc1936 dijo...

The problem is that comunist weren't always the bad guys as much stalinist as they were. In countries ruled by fascist governments they developed the only opposition to Franco, Salazar, Pinochet or the fake power of Bordaberry and they paid for that with a lot of lives. Even if they were so badly mistaken to admit gulags (or ignoring it) I wouldn't use the word gangster so easily, because the alternatives were not that good.

Jonathan dijo...

Yes, but Neruda was a true shit. He wasn't just a communist but a hard-core Stalinist, complicit in the repression of the non-Stalinist left.