NERUDA: The Poet's Calling
(The Biography of a Poet)
by Mark Eisner
Ecco/HarperCollins, April 2018
A finalist for the the 2019 PEN Award for Biography
"Eisner brings alive Latin America's greatest poet... Empathetic but unflinching when occasion calls for criticism, Eisner weaves his subject's stanzas that resonate with the poet's personal stories. A definitive biography and instant classic."
— Library Journal
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"Mark Eisner's definitive biography of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda reads like a beautifully written novel: attentive to scene, momentum, and rich with evocative details.”
— Cristina García, Dreaming in Cuban
"Neruda: The Poet's Calling unfolds as a masterful weave of biography, literary criticism and cultural history, a scrupulous portrait of a genius as vast and contradictory as the continent he loved...Mark Eisner’s vigorously researched, engaging biography topples the poet from his pedestal while affirming his singular genius."
— The Barnes & Noble Review
"A bracingly comprehensive and authoritative account of the “poetry, personality, and politics” of one of the 20th century’s most revered poets….Eisner doesn’t let the enchantment of the verse soften his disapproval of the poet’s serial adultery or mistreatment of women, and questions Neruda’s self-appointed “people’s poet” status... Meanwhile, the descriptions of places where Neruda lived and traveled are poetry themselves."
— Publishers Weekly
"Eisner deftly weaves the strands of Neruda’s life into a narrative as intimate as it is sweeping. This book is an astounding accomplishment, an essential text, and a terrific joy to read.”
— Carolina de Robertis, The White Mountain
"The clarity of Eisner’s prose keeps the reader from getting bogged down...A thoroughly researched, respectful, and evenhanded biography. ...Perceptive readings of Neruda’s poems are contextualized by an absorbing historical, cultural, and political chronology."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Eisner's exacting and evocative prose will compel readers through each stage of the poet's life.. in this new standard-bearer among Neruda biographies."
“What a joy to have this big-hearted, exuberant biography of Neruda, infused with all the grandeur that the man commanded! What particularly commends the book is its mise-en-scène—the wider worlds of art, nature, politics, and social justice in which Neruda moved. A spirited and satisfying journey.”
— Marie Arana, Bolívar: American Liberator
"Mark Eisner skillfully captures Neruda’s life and many passions: for poetry, people, love, and public recognition, using a wealth of archival, textual, and oral sources, some previously unknown to us. This extraordinary account of Neruda’s life is not just for readers of poetry—it will tempt even those who don't normally read poetry to dive into the magic of Neruda."
— Gwen Kirkpatrick, Chair, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University
"In his sweeping and exhaustively researched biography, Mark Eisner plumbs the man behind the legend."
— CS Monitor
"A thoughtful and valuable book, linking the meaning of Neruda’s public life to the state of our world now."
— The Hudson Review
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