Poetry Book Review

A Poetry Book Review: Pablo Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets

Poetry Book Review

Poetry Book Review
100 Love Sonnets

Pablo Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets is a remarkable collection of poetry that transcends language barriers and touches the depths of human emotions.

Originally written in Spanish and translated into English by Stephen Tapscott, this anthology showcases Neruda’s profound ability to capture the essence of love, desire, and longing.

With its evocative imagery, lyrical language, and passionate themes, 100 Love Sonnets has rightfully earned its place as a timeless masterpiece in the realm of love poetry.

Exploring Love’s Spectrum

Within the pages of this collection, Neruda takes readers on an enchanting journey through the many facets of love.

From the initial stages of infatuation to the enduring bonds of long-term commitment, Neruda explores love’s spectrum with unrivalled depth and sensitivity.

Each sonnet is a testament to the power of love and the profound impact it has on the human experience.

Sensual Imagery and Lyrical Language

Neruda’s masterful use of sensual imagery and lyrical language is one of the defining features of 100 Love Sonnets.

Through vivid descriptions of nature, the sea, and the senses, he creates a rich tapestry that immerses readers in the beauty and intensity of love.

His words paint a picture of Isla Negra, the backdrop against which these poems unfold, and allow readers to feel the warmth of the sun, the touch of the sea breeze, and the delicate wildflowers scattered on the sand.

The Power of Translation

Stephen Tapscott’s translation of Neruda’s sonnets deserves special mention.

Translating poetry is a delicate art, as it involves capturing the nuances, rhythm, and emotions embedded in the original language.

Tapscott skillfully conveys the essence of Neruda’s verses, ensuring that English-speaking readers can experience the same emotional impact as those who read the original Spanish version.

His translation maintains the lyrical quality of the poetry, making it accessible to a wider audience while preserving the depth and beauty of the original work.

Neruda’s Artistry and Universal Appeal

What sets Neruda apart as a poet is his ability to capture universal emotions and make them resonate with readers across cultures and generations.

His poems explore themes of desire, longing, passion, and the complexities of love, making them relatable to anyone who has experienced the intensity of human connection.

Neruda’s artistry lies in his ability to distil profound emotions into exquisite verses, leaving an indelible mark on the reader’s heart and soul.

Poems in this Book

As someone who has always been captivated by the beauty of words, I have found myself drawn to poetry as a way to express my innermost thoughts and emotions.

So when I was gifted Pablo Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets by a good friend of mine, I was immediately intrigued.

As someone who has always been curious about love and its complexities, this book promised to be a literary journey that would leave me spellbound.

And it did not disappoint. From the very first sonnet, Neruda’s words took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions – from longing and desire to heartbreak and loss.

Each poem seemed to be imbued with a sense of passion and intensity that made it impossible for me to put down the book until I had devoured every last word.

Here are some of my best pieces from Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets:


I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,   
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:   
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,   
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries   
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,   
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose   
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,   
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,   
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,   
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.


When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together
and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.


It's good to feel you are close to me in the night, love,
invisible in your sleep, intently nocturnal,
while I untangle my worries
as if they were twisted nets.

Withdrawn, your heart sails through dream,
but your body, relinquished so, breathes
seeking me without seeing me perfecting my dream
like a plant that seeds itself in the dark.

Rising, you will be that other, alive in the dawn,
but from the frontiers lost in the night,
from the presence and the absence where we meet ourselves,

something remains, drawing us into the light of life
as if the sign of the shadows had sealed
its secret creatures with flame.


Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply
to the sky's questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.


I love the handful of the earth you are.
Because of its meadows, vast as a planet,
I have no other star. You are my replica
of the multiplying universe.

Your wide eyes are the only light I know
from extinguished constellations;
your skin throbs like the streak
of a meteor through rain.

Your hips were that much of the moon for me;
your deep mouth and its delights, that much sun;
your heart, fiery with its long red rays,

was that much ardent light, like honey in the shade.
So I pass across your burning form, kissing
you — compact and planetary, my dove, my globe.

Final Thoughts on Poetry Book Review

Poetry Book Review
Poetry Book Review

Pablo Neruda’s 100 Love Sonnets is a literary gem that continues to captivate readers with its timeless themes and lyrical beauty.

Through his evocative imagery, passionate language, and profound insights into the human condition, Neruda invites us to delve into the depths of love and explore the profound impact it has on our lives.

Whether you are a seasoned poetry enthusiast or a newcomer to the genre, this collection is a must-read that will leave you spellbound and forever changed.

r. A. bentinck
r. A. bentinck

r. A. bentinck is a #1 Best Seller author in Caribbean & Latin American Poetry, He is an Artist and Educator with a B. A. Degree in Fine Arts (Hons) and a Diploma in Education from the University of Guyana.

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