Pablo and the men

Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet and politician who took a pen name from the 19th-century Czech poet, Jan Neruda. Pablo served as Senator for the Chilean Communist Party for a few years before President González Videla outlawed communism in 1948. This ruling forced Pablo to go into hiding, relying on his many friends to keep him safe and out of site.

Pablo’s political beliefs can often be found in his poetry. He also wrote many poems about love and relationships. The poem below seems to be about love and forgetting the lovers you’ve had in the past, but perhaps it is also a commentary about building ones politics upon the politics of those who came before.

Pablo’s writing and his politics were one. He believed “that the work of art and the statement of thought—when these are responsible human actions, rooted in human need—are inseparable from historical and political context,” (Salvatore Bizzarro in Pablo Neruda: All Poets the Poet). He had a powerful voice of influence and the voice of a performing poet. Something that is worth remembering while reading his poems.

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Cummings and the moon

E. E. Cummings (or e e cummings) was an American poet perhaps best know for his creative use of form and language. He created new words and bent the definitions of words and the rules of grammar to suit his poetic needs. While often writing about poetically archaic themes, like childhood, love, and flowers (including this poem below), he did things to the form of these “plain” poems that changed what modern poetry could be.

While speaking about his work, Cummings once said: “So far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art was, is, and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality.” He opposed ideas and politics that restricted or opposed individuality, perhaps brought on (in part) by his experiences during the war and his trip to the Soviet Union—but that’s another story. Instead, we have here a poem that expresses Cummings as an individual, with his own unique inclinations:

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