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Sunday, April 11, 2021

20 poemas

 In Babelia a Spanish critic and poet notes that Neruda's 20 poemas de amor present an outdated idea of love between men and women. In a facebook thread, of course, some Spaniards attack this criticism of Neruda, trying to say you want to throw out Catullus too (irrelevantly).  

But it's super-obvious. Who hasn't noticed that "I like you when you're quiet, because it is as though you were absent" was not exactly a feminist sentiment? It's a sentimental and cursi book, and long regarded a little bit embarrassing, despite some nice lines. 

But of course, Neruda is objectionable at many stages of his career. His bad political poetry at the end (and the middle). In his memoirs he describes a rape that he committed. These are not unknown things. C;mon people. 

He had prodigious talent, and has many powerful poems, but there doesn't seem to be any point in making him beyond reproach. 

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