Thursday, July 22, 2004

More Neruda: I mentioned the old ratchet-jaw last week, regarding his 100th birthday.  (Luckily, he's been, er, decomposing for the last several of those anniversaries.)  The Weekly Standard looks closer this week.
Yes, his work is still plagiarized by teenage boys in Latin America, who see his Twenty Love Poems and a Desperate Song and figure there is nothing wrong with borrowing from it--just as one poem in the book is itself stolen from Rabindranath Tagore--and presenting its overwrought lines to their girlfriends. But if those boys grow up to be serious writers, they leave Neruda behind.
Stephen Schwartz quotes this little number, from 1953, an ode to the recently late Stalin:
In recent years the dove,

Peace, the wandering persecuted rose,

Found herself on his shoulders

And Stalin, the giant,

Carried her at the heights of his forehead. . .


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