Every July 12, we commemorate the anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest poets of all time: Pablo Neruda. Born on 12 July 1904 under very precarious conditions in the town of Parral, Chile, Neruda left a literary legacy that endures to this day. His deeply passionate and emotionally charged poetry has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world. On this anniversary, we pay tribute to the life and work of this iconic writer, whose influence transcends borders and generations.

Pablo Neruda, whose real name was Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, the son of a railway worker, began writing poetry at school from an early age. His literary talent was quickly recognised, and his first book, “Crepusculario”, was published in 1923. Throughout his career, Neruda experimented with various poetic styles, from modernism to surrealism, and his work evolved as he explored a wide range of themes, including love, politics, nature and the human condition.

One of the most significant milestones in Neruda’s career was the publication of “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair” in 1924, a masterpiece that catapulted him to international fame. His poetry, characterised by its emotional intensity and vivid, evocative language, connected deeply with readers and consolidated him in Latin American and world literature, despite the fact that he is now a controversial figure, questioned by some feminists who criticise him for his macho and sexist behaviour.

While developing his career as a poet, Neruda was also a fervent political activist. A Communist Party militant and candidate for the presidency of his country, he renounced it in favour of convergence with Salvador Allende in the Popular Unity. Throughout his life, he was involved in left-wing movements and played a prominent role in Chilean politics. He was his country’s ambassador to France. His commitment to the ideas of social justice and freedom was reflected in many of his writings, and he became an influential voice for resistance and the struggle against oppression.

In 1971, Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, a recognition of his outstanding contribution to poetry. The Nobel Committee noted his “writing which, with the action of an elemental force, gives life to a continental destiny and to the dreams of a people”.

Pablo Neruda’s legacy remains relevant and powerful today. His poems have been translated into numerous languages and continue to inspire people of all ages and cultures. His ability to capture the beauty in the simplest things and his ability to express the deepest emotions make him a universally loved and admired poet.

On the anniversary of his birth, we remember Pablo Neruda as a passionate poet, a defender of social justice and a witness to the world around him. His voice resonates in every verse he wrote, and his legacy urges us to appreciate the beauty of life, to strive for a more just world and to find the inspiration of poetry in every corner of the universe.