The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems

Pablo Neruda, edited by Mark Eisner

In honor of Pablo Neruda’s 100th birthday on July 12, Mark Eisner and San Francisco’s City Lights Books have put together these new translations of some of the Chilean Nobel laureate’s most-admired poems. English translations face the Spanish originals, and the translator’s list is a who’s who of notables, including former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Haas, Jack Hirschman and John Felstiner. Though there’s always room to argue about which of Neruda’s many poems are the most essential, this book contains an excellent selection. It includes several sections of “The Heights of Macchu Picchu” and some other poems from Canto General, and his love poems also are well-represented. Such a wide sampling of Neruda in one volume makes this collection hard to top.