“A NEW POETIC ADVENTURE”: FIRST EDITION OF PABLO NERUDA’S NUEVAS ODAS ELEMENTALES, WITH TYPESCRIPT OF ONE ODE LAID IN, BOTH INSCRIBED BY NERUDA TO A FELLOW POET
NERUDA, Pablo. Nuevas Odas Elementales. Buenos Aires: Editorial Losada, (1955; i.e., 1956). Quarto, original printed paper self-wrappers, uncut. WITH: Five-page typescript on 8 1/2- by 10 1/2 paper laid in. Housed in custom chemises and clamshell box.
First edition of Neruda’s second volume of “Elemental Odes,” inscribed to Argentine poet and historian León Benarós: “A Benarós, adelante! Pablo Neruda 1976.” With a four-page typescript of Neruda’s ode “Oda al Picaflor” laid in, inscribed in the year of the book’s publication: “León, gracias por el precioso libro, allí va esta oda recién hecha la sigo de confraternidad pajarera. Pablo Neruda, Set. 55. [León, thank you for the beautiful book, here comes a recently completed ode accompanied by birdly brotherhood. September 1955.]”
In 1952, Neruda was allowed to return to his native Chile from exile. “He was received with great acclaim, and settled down to write his Odas Elementales which clearly represented a new poetic adventure for him. Although his Elemental Odes dealt with everyday life and common objects and attitudes, Neruda managed to bring dignity and liveliness to them” (Pribic, 310). “Fulfilling what he referred to as his ‘poet’s obligation’—that of being a voice—he decided quite deliberately to simplify his poems, in order to make them more accessible to people like the campesinos who had given him shelter when he was in hiding. The result was his celebrated Odas Elementales, long, thin, observant, often whimsical contemplations of familiar objects and conditions, carefully worded poems that are often self-mocking and full of ironies but that reveal Neruda’s utter absorption in the details of existence, his intimate sense of the secret life of things” (Alastair Reid, Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems, 5-6). This is the second of Neruda’s three books of “elemental odes”; the first (Odas Elementales) was published in 1954, the third (Tercer Libro de las Odas) in 1957. Text in Spanish. “Oda al Picaflor” can be found on page 117. Accompanying the typescript is the original airmail envelope to the recipient, Argentine poet and historian León Benarós.
Interior fine; expert repair to inner paper hinges. Light wear to extremities of bright paper wrappers. Folds to typescript from mailing; small rust mark from where pages were pinned together. A near-fine copy, most desirable with the inscribed typescript.