Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Neruda became known as a poet while still a teenager. He wrote in a variety of styles including surrealist poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and erotically-charged love poems such as the ones in his 1924 collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. He often wrote in green ink colour as it was his personal symbol for desire and hope with his poetry.
Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language."
On July 15, 1945, at Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo, Brazil, he read to 100,000 people in honor of Communist revolutionary leader Luís Carlos Prestes. During his lifetime, Neruda occupied many diplomatic positions and served a stint as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When Chilean President González Videla outlawed communism in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda's arrest. Friends hid him for months in a house basement in the Chilean port of Valparaíso. Later, Neruda escaped into exile through a mountain pass near Maihue Lake into Argentina. Years later, Neruda was a close collaborator to socialist President Salvador Allende. When Neruda returned to Chile after his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Allende invited him to read at the Estadio Nacional before 70,000 people.
Neruda was hospitalised with cancer at the time of the Chilean coup d'état led by Augusto Pinochet. Three days after being hospitalised, Neruda died of heart failure; however, there are doubts as to whether or not the junta had a hand in his death. Already a legend in life, Neruda's death reverberated around the world. Pinochet had denied permission to transform Neruda's funeral into a public event. However, thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and crowded the streets.
1.) Adam Feinstein (2005). Pablo Neruda: A Passion For Life. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 97. ISBN 9781582345949. "Despite their political differences and the fact that she was religious and Neruda was an atheist, Pablo had far more in common with Bombal than with Maruca."