Odes to Opposites

Odes to Opposites

Book - 1995
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Each ode in this book deals with abstract concepts, emotions and objects and is coupled with its opposite. For example, Ode to Fire is coupled with Ode to Rain. Each ode is written is Spanish and English and is prefaced by pencil drawings. Neruda won the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Publisher: Boston : Little, Brown, 1995.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780821222270
Branch Call Number: 861 Neru
Characteristics: 149p. 24cm.
Additional Contributors: Cook, Ferris
Krabbenhoft, Kenneth


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Apr 02, 2018

This is a beautiful book, both in the poetry (as expected) and in the hyper-realistic charcoal illustrations. The poems probably lose much of their mechanics in translation from Spanish (though a casual glance shows that they aren’t rhyming poems in their original language either) but they still contain beautiful, often surprising, images, and sometimes unexpected humor. Among the topics covered as “opposites” are morning in Brazil and morning in Stockholm; clouds and waves; and present and future time (as well as more mundane opposites such as spring and fall, and fire and rain). “Ode to enchanted light” reflects light in raindrops (“the world is / a glass overflowing / with water”); that “to fall” announces that spring was annoying; that “to solitude” suggests a false paradise (“o solitude, beautiful / word: crab-grass / grows between your syllables”), probably because Neruda is saying that people should be working together. Yes, some of these are surprising; but most are beautiful. Read them one at a time, and savor them.

Dec 18, 2014

One of my favorite poets. This bilingual edition helps! I enjoy the translations, and can try to remember some of the Spanish that I learned many years ago.


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