Olympics of Reading

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Reading a book from every country of the world: Chile

Adele Arbi
Curious Compass
Published in
4 min readJun 6, 2024

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Photo by AROMATEEC on Unsplash

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Confession time, fellow bibliophiles: poetry isn’t exactly my forte.

Give me a captivating narrative or a well-developed character arc, and I’m content. Deciphering flowery language and wrestling with metaphors? Not so much.

However, Olympics of Reading is all about expanding literary horizons, so with a healthy dose of curiosity (and perhaps a touch of nervousness), I embarked on a journey with the most well known author from Chile, Pablo Neruda. His collection, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, was my companion the past week.

Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda assumed his pen name as a teenager, partly because it was in vogue, partly to hide his poetry from his father, a rigid man who wanted his son to have a “practical” occupation.

With his works translated into many languages, Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century.

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Adele Arbi
Curious Compass

A curious soul exploring and documenting life. London-based Tech Expat | Muslim | Polyglot | Booklover | Traveler