Sunday, March 11, 2012

Las Casas de Neruda

Voy por el mundo/cada vez más alegre:/cada ciudad me da una nueva vida./El mundo está naciendo. -Pablo Neruda, Cuándo En Chile
 In the last week I have visited all three of Pablo Neruda's houses: one here in Santiago called La Chascona, the second in Isla Negra, Casa de Isla Negra and the last in Valparaiso called La Sebastiana. Each house truly speaks to Neruda's personality and life. While inside I could imagine him being there, drinking and laughing with friends or writing and staring out at the sea. The poets, painters, writers and other creative types from the late 60s and 70s really fascinate me: I have an image in my head of these amazing artistic people who were all friends, striving to make the world a better place with their art. Diego Rivera is one of my favorite artists and seeing the paintings he gave to Neruda and his wife Matilde made these figures more real to me.

La Chascona in Santiago
As with most everything in Chile, the golpe de estado (coup d'etat for all you gringos out there) played an important role in the course of Neruda's life. A known communist, his houses were all ransacked when the golpe occured and Pinochet came to power. Only 12 days after the golpe Neruda died of prostate cancer, although some say he died of sadness.
Casa de Isla Negra 

Neruda remains an inspirational figure to Chileans and it is clear why. His houses brim with personality: each designed to resemble a boat to represent his love for the sea. I think maybe the reason I so idolize Neruda is his ability to just do what made him happy. He built houses by the sea, collected children's toys,  drank as much as he wanted, stood up for his political beliefs, sat around for hours discussing life with close friends, what more could you want in life? Granted, Neruda's ability to do what made him happy was partially due to his wealth, but still his spirit inspires me.

This past weekend our group went to Viña del Mar and Valparaiso and had quite a few adventures, which I'll blog about soon, but for now it's time for me to attempt to turn on the caléfon and go to bed early since I actually start school tomorrow. Guess I gotta put the "study" in "study abroad" at some point!


1 comment:

  1. I like Diego Rivera too -- did a major paper on him when I was in college!