I read this slim volume in one sitting and will want to read it again and again. Tomas Q. Morin has added a bright new voice to the translations of Pablo Neruda’s poetry. After reading his translation of the twelve-part poem “The Heights of Macchu Picchu,” I immediately retrieved my copy of the voluminous The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, edited by Ilan Stavans and read the included sections of that same poem, as translated by Nathaniel Tarn. There are nuanced differences in the two translations, but both are lovely.
“The Heights of Macchu Picchu” initially appeared as Canto Two of the Canto General, Neruda’s tenth book of poetry, published by Talleris Grficos de la Nacion (Mexico, 1950). The poem depicts the perspective of the laborers who built the city rather than the aristocrats who ruled there. It will hold a place of honor on my book shelf, beside Forrest Gander’s translation of Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems.