Considered by many to be one of the Greatest Poets of the 20th century in any language, Pablo Neruda was especially popular in the early 1970s, around the time of his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
His politics, particularly during the time of great political upheaval in his native Chile did as much for his reputation as his poetry. A diplomat who served under the Chilean Communist Party, Neruda was a close adviser to Chile’s Socialist President Salvador Allende. At the time of the military coup and takeover in 1973, Neruda was dying of prostate Cancer. At the time of his death, the Pinochet government was in place and prevented the staging of a public funeral. However, the order was disobeyed and the streets of Santiago were jammed with mourners.
This interview and poetry reading is from the program Comment, airing on September 5, 1971, a few days before his being awarded the Nobel Prize. It is the first time he reads any of his poetry in English