My connection with Pablo Neruda

(Chilean Pablo Neruda is one of the greatest poets of the Spanish world…also one of the major poets of all times)

I grew up with Pablo Neruda’s poetry. When I was a theatre student in Chile in the sixties his presence and his work were an important influence in our artistic world. One of my first acting jobs was in Neruda’s only play, “Fulgor y Muerte de Joaquín Murieta” (Joaquin Murieta’s splendor and death), a big production premiered by my alma mater, the Instituto del Teatro de la Universidad de Chile.

Living in Toronto in 1971/72 I discovered that Neruda was not well known in North America. I wanted to share this literary giant I was so proud of, but most of the translations of his work at that time were inaccurate and clumsy. Luckily I met a Neruda specialist: University of Toronto professor Keith Ellis—who shared my feelings about the translations, and we embarked in the task of translating many of his poems and prose texts into English. I then prepared and directed a staged reading titled “The lives of the poet”— Neruda’s life expressed through a compilation of his poetry and prose.  Members of the U.of T.’s Alumnae Drama Club performed the reading that opened one week after Pablo Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature, and was a great success. Later CBC broadcast a radio version of “The lives of the poet”.

The process of compiling, translating, rehearsing and finally producing this reading lasted for many months, and it consolidated my love and my knowledge of Pablo Neruda’s work. Throughout my life as a theatre artist, his poetry has helped me to define my identity; it has been present as inspiration, reference and background; and is a source of beauty, surprising images and thoughts. His poetry encompasses all aspects of life, it inspires us to extend our creativity, explore new forms of expression, and is valuable for any artist.
 Lina de Guevara

“My Neruda Workshop”
Upcoming in October 2012: “My Neruda”, an intensive voice/movement workshop for experienced dancers, actors, performers who wish to inspire their creations in the work of this great poet. Conducted by Chilean/ Canadian choreographer Sebastian Mena and Chilean/Canadian director/actor/writer Lina de Guevara.
During the workshop participants will be guided in the creation of their own solo piece, based on a Pablo Neruda poem and using the methodology created by De Guevara and Mena.
Exact dates and location TBA.