The Yellow Heart

The Yellow Heart

This book, among Pablo Neruda’s last, was written as the poet prepared for death by cancer and for the imminent, devastating, U.S.-backed military coup in Chile in 1973. The poems embrace the multiple, often contradictory responses to a lifetime filled with threats and mundane pleasures, fame and privacy; they include allegories, love songs, personae, celebrations and laments, and even self-parodies. Translator William O’Daly has contributed a major introductory essay that places Neruda’s last books in proper context and provides an overview of The Yellow Heart within the poet’s lifelong explorations of improvisation and his habit of writing many poems on a theme. “Given the remarkable range and diversity of his work,” O’Daly says, “from early love poems and experiments in humanistic surrealism, to the historical and mythological Canto General and the odes to spoons and winter, to this playful and irreverent book, [Neruda] quite clearly crafted his poems with numerous voices and a multitude of feet.” Now self-effacing, now sacred, often humorous, sometimes poignant, these last courageous poems provide a fresh perspective on Neruda’s vast oeuvre. Only a great poet confronted with his mortality could have written them.

“Essential.”
Library Journal

“Confirms the mature poet as a surpassing craftsman with a marvelous range of voice and texture.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“O’Daly’s translations capture both the spirit and the feeling of the original.”
Choice

“O’Daly has made Pablo Neruda’s late poetry the focus of his artistic life, and the result is an American English equivalent which approaches the resonance of the original without sacrificing the hypnotic power of Neruda’s precise vision. It is a humbling, gratifying accomplishment.”
Sam Hamill