A Tribute to Pablo Neruda

A Tribute to Pablo Neruda

For National Poetry Month, Arts World Financial Center enlisted David Spelman to curate and produce a tribute to Pablo Neruda, the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature winner. The evening-length event, Songs of Love & Despair: A Musical Tribute to Pablo Neruda, took place on April 15, 2009, and featured readings and world premiere performances by artists from around the globe, including Clogs, Irene & Vojtech Havel, Colin Stetson, Cecilia Vicuña, Pedro Soler, Beñat Achiary, Bob Holman, Laurie Anderson, and Lou Reed.

New music was written by Australian composer Padma Newsome (Clogs, The National), who was joined on stage by the four members of Clogs, and other guest musicians, including composer Colin Stetson (Arcade Fire, Sway Machinery, Bell Orchestre), the Czech experimental musicians Irene & Vojtech Havel, who perform on cello and viola da gamba, and flamenco guitarist Pedro Soler, who was joined by Basque vocal improviser Beñat Achiary.

Reading selections of poetry by Neruda was Chilean poet and artist Cecilia Vicuña, American poet and Bowery Poetry Club founder Bob Holman, who presented his own praise poem for Neruda, written for the event, experimental performance artist Laurie Anderson, and rock musician Lou Reed, best known as the guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground.

Pablo Neruda (1904–1973) is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century. Columbian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez called the Chilean-born poet “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” His works have been translated and published all over the globe.

Photographs by Corinne Botz