A night with Pablo Neruda

Ya eres mía. Reposa con tu sueño en mi sueño. Amor, dolor, trabajos, deben dormir ahora.

And now you're mine. Rest with your dream in my dream. Love and pain and work should all sleep, now.

–  Sonnet 81, Pablo Neruda

Poetry and music wafted across the first floor of Tūranga on Wednesday night, commemorating Pablo Neruda's poetry and birthday on 12 July. The Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet and renowned activist and politician's legacy is far-reaching, and many around the world have fallen in love with his poems, particularly his love poems.

Christchurch City Libraries partnered with Daniel Toledo from South Media Entertainment to commemorate Pablo Neruda's life through his poems, while also celebrating Chilean music and culture more widely. 

We read a selection of five of Neruda's poems – starting with the original Spanish before reading an English translation– and local Chilean musician, Eduardo Conejeros, delighted the crowd with his beautiful guitar and Spanish vocal performances between the poems. The Spanish was read by volunteer native speakers from our Spanish Book Club (with a couple of library staff), while other staff from the library performed the English translations – making for a wonderful collaboration that got lots of different people involved.

Most of the works read were Neruda's famous love poems, like Sonnet 20 'The Saddest Lines – Puedo escribir', and 'If you Forget Me – Si tú me olvidas', and the event finished up with the quirky 'Ode to a Cat – Oda al Gato'.

A special thanks to Daniel Toledo of South Media Entertainment for everything you put into this event with us to make it such an enjoyable night, and also to Eduardo Conejeros for your amazing musical performances – they really made the night extra special.

Want to learn a bit more about Pablo Neruda? Read Hayley's post.

Check out the photo gallery below for more photos of the poetry reading!

Photo Gallery

More information

About Pablo Neruda: eResources