Five Decades: Poems, 1925-1970

ISBN: 0394178696
ISBN 13: 9780394178691
By: Ben Belitt

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Reader's Thoughts


this book is on my shelf and I flip into it every once in a while and a read a new poem and they are very sexy and fantastic

Rene Spector Johnson

I just can't give this book a good review, I love Neruda and in truth, I should learn to read Spanish so that I can read his words and let them translate in my mind myself. That said, I agree with so many other reviewers, the translations are pretty bad. Why would anyone without a poet's tongue, try to translate Neruda? Its so bad that I think this book only deserves 2 stars. In addition, the translator uses the word "niggardly" in his preface. Now I know this was 1974, but the selection of his words, says a lot about him as a writer...and in my opinion, the word stingy would have sufficed.All that said, if you know Spanish fluently, I suppose this collection is wonderful.


I think this was the best choice in getting a collection of Pablo Neruda's poems. The poems are in both Spanish and English. I feel sorry for those of you who don't understand Spanish because you're really missing out on something. The beauty is in the words, how they're said aloud. The Enlish versions don't do it any justice really.


This is the best and most complete collection of Pablo Neruda poems--they are also in Spanish and English


This author was referred to me by a spanish speaking friend, and later his poems were read to my spanish class. Neruda is great and wonderful. Very romantic poems and a poem for everything. This is the dual language version, one side spanish and one side english.


Beautiful. If you can read it in Spanish, you'll get so much more out of it - the translations are awful. One complaint - wish there were more love sonnets in this compilation. But its still some of the best poetry I've ever read.


If I was sent to a desert island, this is the single book I would take with me to read for the rest of my life. Some of the English translations in this book are actually pretty horrible; read Selected Poems if you don't read Spanish. This one is a pretty comprehensive survey of my favorite poet of all time, hands down. He could be writing about the Spanish Civil War, the sea, United Fruit Company, the woman he loves, or a pair of socks-- everything is as if you never noticed it or saw it or comprehended it until you read his poetic interpretation of it. There are poems of his I would tattoo on my hand (if that weren't so painful and crazy) so I could always have them in front of me-- that's how good he is.

Amy Kitchell-Leighty


Patrick Lawrence O'Keeffe

In original Spanish and English on facing pages. This is in a league by itself. So sensual. Just so natural and human in multiple dimensions.


Devastatingly gorgeous and sensual poetry. Pablo Neruda is a must read for anyone that enjoys poetry.


This is, to me, difficult reading. Yet really satisfying when a poem "hits the mark" and you understand it. Neruda's is the only poetry book I've ever brought, due to the movie "El Postino," in which there is a character loosely based on him, and the actor playing him was so great with Neruda's words I wanted to read more. I have to think much harder than when reading prose, but that's good. Give it a try- it's thought-provoking. And his use of words is simply amazing; beautiful. I've noticed one word in poetry can be a complete story in prose.


I love many of the earlier poems, although Belitt's painstaking precision often tends to muddle both the rhythm and the tone of the poems -- turning what were most likely beautifully wrought phrases into intellectual pastiche.


I don't have good spanish, but the translations seemed to strip these poems of all their life. Maybe I'm just a dummie. I really enjoy other translations of Neruda much much more.


Every poem is given in both Spanish and English translation, on facing pages. That said, the English translations seem to me a bit stilted and unnecessarily obscure. But I would recommend it to anyone who knows Spanish passably.


Both the original Spanish and an English translation are given for each poem. This book is a wide variety of his poems.

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