Friday, 28 March 2008

The Book of Questions by Pablo Neruda (winner 1971)

Yes, the Nobel Project means not only reading novels, but also poetry (shudder). I mean, I don't hate all poetry - Dickinson has her moments and I quite enjoy Browning, for two. And of course me speciality of medieval literature is almost all poetry, but that's completely different. But anyway, it's not my favourite. The worst being the large sub genre of net poetry. I think I'd probably pick being caught looking at internet porn over internet poetry.

If internet poetry is universally puerile, then the poetry of Pablo Neruda is... less so... The Book of Questions is apparently a collection of poems about unanswerable questions, many of which revolve around autumn. I'm sure if I was in literature class I'd be raving about the delicate leitmotif, but I'm not so I just found the constant harping on what colour yellow is and where the leaves go irritating. There was the occasional insightful 'question' but for the most part they were eye-rollingly facile. One plus was that the edition I read, translated by William O'Daly, included the original Spanish text alongside the English. Not that I read Spanish, of course, but it was of passing interest.

I was a good girl and read the entire book even though technically I could have cheated and claimed one poem counted as reading 'something' by the author. Gold stars for me. None for Neruda.

1 comment:

Jess said...