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Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems by Pablo Neruda, translated by Forrest Gander

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Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

‘The greatest poet of the twentieth century, in any language.’ – Gabriel García Márquez

This stunning collection gathers together previously unknown poems found by archivists in boxes kept at the Pablo Neruda Foundation in Chile in 2014.

Neruda is renowned for poetry that casts away despair and celebrates living, fired by his belief that there is no unsurmountable solitude. Then Come Back presents Neruda’s mature imagination and writing: signature love poems, odes, anecdotes, and poems of the political imagination. Translator Forrest Gander beautifully renders the eros and heartache, deep wonder and complex wordplay of the original Spanish, which is presented here with full-colour reproductions of the poems in their original composition on scraps of paper, music programmes, a menu, and in notebooks.

Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems simultaneously completes and advances the oeuvre of the Nobel Laureate. Discovered during the cataloguing of Neruda’s papers, there are 21 poems in all, together with detailed notes about how they relate to his published work.

‘These documents, along with the poems (some of them fragments), translated by Forrest Gander, provide insights into the writing and its familiar themes — love, poetry and the strength and beauty of the people and landscape of Neruda’s native Chile. The book provides new glimpses of the poet, who died in 1973. In one poem, Neruda addresses his younger self and urges, “all right, young man, now / listen: / hang on / keep your silence / until the words / ripen / in you.”… This brief visit with Neruda ends all too soon, yet reminds one why his work still matters.’ – Elizabeth Lund, Washington Post

‘Recently discovered within the “jungle of the poet’s manuscripts”, these 21 untitled and previously unpublished poems, produced between the early 1950s and Neruda’s 1973 death, continue his tradition of political engagement, love of homeland, and exaltations of nature and romantic love. These captivating poems are presented separately in English and Spanish, and annotated with contextual notes and background information including dates, interpretations, and descriptions of the documents themselves. This is Neruda at his finest, his eloquence and passion skilfully arranged in an accessible yet profound package.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘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.’ – Library Journal

‘The poet and novelist Forrest Gander, already known for translations of Mexican poets, seems like the obvious pick to bring the new Neruda into English, and he does not disappoint. Neruda’s organic creation, his erotic energies, bloom into “the flower that directs and sustains us, / the wheat that dies into bread and portions out our lives, / the mud with the smoothest fingers in the world.”… Cosmonauts, Chilean flora and fauna, “Chilenos, / a poor people, / miners, / fishermen,” figure in these pages, whose fluent style resembles Neruda’s well-known odes; they are held together by the capacious emotions of the very quotable poet himself, for whom “the heart is a leaf / and the wind makes it throb.”’ – Stephen Burt, (Academy of American Poets)

‘A literary event of universal importance.’ – The Guardian

North America: Copper Canyon Press

Spanish-English bilingual edition



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