Neruda, Pablo. Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda. Copper Canyon. Apr. 2016. 160p. tr. from Spanish by Forrest Gander. illus. ISBN 9781556594946. $23. POETRY
Culled from recently discovered notebooks and sheets of paper stored in cases on Neruda’s estate, these 21 poems were written from the 1950s to shortly before the death of the perennially popular 1971 Chilean Nobel laureate. Poems such as No. 1 (“I touch your feet in the shade”), the exquisite No. 4 (“What guides autumn’s leaf into your golden hand”), and No. 5 (“Crossing the sky I near/ the red ray of your hair”) fit in with his early love poetry. A sizable number proceed from his ode period, with its paeans to simple, ordinary objects. The only one bearing a title, “To the Andes,” recalls the patriotic homage to the Americas found in Canto general. Deftly translated by Pulitzer Prize finalist poet Gander (Core Samples from the World) and accompanied by copious notes and illustrations from the manuscripts, this selection is sequentially (vs. face-to-face) bilingual. VERDICT This latest addition to the extensive inventory of Neruda’s works is a miniretrospective that captures the essence of his more famous works; the poems here are certainly as deserving to form part of the poet’s canon as any heretofore published collections. It’s a real treat discovering long lost Neruda poems that do not disappoint. [See Prepub Alert, 12/7/15.]—Lawrence Olszewski, North Central State Coll., Mansfield, OH
This review was published in Library Journal’s February 1, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35 percent off the regular subscription rate.