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112 Years of Chile's Master Poet and Radical, Pablo Neruda

IN PICTURES: On the 112th birthday of Pablo Neruda, teleSUR takes a look at 10 quotes from the master poet and lifelong communist.

Today the Chilean poet, politician and Nobel Laureate would have turned 112 years old.

While he would go on to become one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, Neruda also had strong political convictions, known for his affiliation with the Communist Party and his support of Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro.

Neruda is perhaps best known for his collection of "Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair," but he also wrote in various styles including surrealism, historical epics, and political manifestos.

In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams.”

During his lifetime, Neruda held many diplomatic positions and was a senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When President Gonzalez Videla outlawed communism in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda's arrest, seeing him hide for months in the basement of a house.

Neruda died in 1973 days after the Pinochet regime took power in Chile through a brutal coup, and while it was reported that he died of heart failure, many suspect that he was poisoned. In 2013 an investigation was even launched with Neruda's body being exhumed to determine whether he was assassinated by Pinochet's regime, a mystery that still lingers.

Today Neruda remains the best known poets in Latin America and arguably one of the most famous worldwide.

"We the mortals touch the metals, the wind, the ocean shores, the stones, knowing they will go on, inert or burning, and I was discovering, naming all the these things: it was my destiny to love and say goodbye." Photo:EFE
"Naked you are blue like the night in Cuba, you have vines and stars in your hair." Photo:EFE
"In what language does rain fall over tormented cities?" Photo:EFE
"Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread." Photo:EFE
"The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty." Photo:EFE
"It was my destiny to love and say goodbye." Photo:EFE
"My feet will want to walk to where you are sleeping but I shall go on living." Photo:EFE
"If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life." Photo:EFE
"Then love knew it was called love. And when I lifted my eyes to your name, suddenly your heart showed me my way." Photo:EFE
"You can cut all of the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." Photo:Reuters
Published 12 July 2016
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