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The Heights of Macchu Picchu

Program #NERP001. Recorded in Boulder, CO on September 14, 1983.

The Heights of Macchu Picchu (Alturas de Macchu Picchu) ranks with Neruda’s finest poems. Macchu Picchu, the Inca city high up in the Peruvian Andes is one of the most beautiful and astonishing archaeological sites in the world. Neruda went there and was inspired to write his epic poem. He breathes life into the ruins. In this program Neruda reads excerpts from his masterpiece. You will hear English versions. Experience great poetry as Neruda recites: Sube a nacer conmigo hermano… Arise to birth with me, my brother.”

Music performed by Los Jaivas and Tahuantinsuyo. Readers in studio are Frederico Cordovez, Jim Glasscock, Tariq Malik, and Cary Wolfson. Made possible by a grant from the Boulder Arts Commission. Produced and hosted by David Barsamian as part of his World Poetry Series on KGNU.

Speaker(s):

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda was the pen name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He became known as a poet while still a teenager. He was extraordinarily prolific and wrote in a variety of styles from historical epics and political manifestos, to erotically-charged love poems such as in his famous 1924 collection Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair. His Canto General of which The Heights of Macchu Picchu is part, is considered his masterwork. He often wrote in green ink, which was his personal symbol for desire and hope. His fellow Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language." He passed away on September 23, 1973, just days after the CIA-backed coup in Chile. Questions persist about whether his death was deliberate.

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