On the blue shore of silence
A la orilla azul del silencio
Poems of the sea
Poemas del mar
By Pablo Neruda
Translated by Alastair Reid
Paintings by Mary Heebner
Afterword by Antonio Skarmeta
Pablo Neruda 1904-1973
• Born Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto
• July 12th, 1904 – Perral, Chile
• Gabriela Mistral – head of girls’ secondary
• 1st Latin American Woman to win a Nobel
prize in 1945
• Neruda’s first poem Entusiasmo y
Perseverancia at 13
• 1920 – Pablo Neruda in memory of Czech
poet Jan Neruda
• 1924 Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion
Studied French and pedagogy at Univeristy of
Chile in Santiago
1927-1935 honorary consulships – Burma,
Ceylon, Java, Singapore, Buenos Aires,
Barcelona & Madrid
Residencia en la tierra (1933) – literary
• Spanish Civil War & murder of García
Lorca affected him
• Joined Republican movement in
• Worked on España en el Corazón
• Recalled to Chile
• Political and social issues
• Mexico – Consul General
• Rewrote Canto General de Chile –
transforming it into epic poem of all South
• Published in Mexico in 1950 &
underground in Chile
• 1943 return Chile & 1945 elected senator of the
Joined the Communist Party of Chile
Protest repressive policy against miners 1947
Went underground in Chile for 2 years
Left in 1949 – Europe
World Peace Prize with Paul Roberson & Pablo
Picasso – 1950
Returned Chile in 1952
• Las Uvas y el Viento (1954) – diary of his
• Nobel Prize in Literature - 1971
• Neruda died of leukemia in Santiago on
September 23, 1973 – a few days after
Allende’s murder and Pinochet coup
Neruda’s Autumn – Isla Negra
• “The sea had been for him always a
central metaphor for his comings and
goings, a shifting source of awe and fear,
of beauty and terror. In Isla Negra, it was
a constant physical presence in the poems
he was then writing, the objects in his
house like his private vocabulary.”
– Alistair Reid
Isla Negra
Nace – It is Born
Here I came to the very edge
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning.
El Mar
El Primer Mar
Soliloquio en las Olas
• Desconocidos en la
No Me Hagan Caso
The Sea
It is Born
The First Sea
Soliloquy in the
Strangers on the
Forget About Me
What the sea means to us…

On the blue shore of silence A la orilla azul del silencio