Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

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First edition title page

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (Spanish: Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada) is a collection of romantic poems by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, first published in 1924 by Editorial Nascimento of Santiago, when Neruda was 19. It was Neruda's second published work, after Crepusculario (Editorial Nascimento, 1923) and made his name as a poet.

Veinte poemas was controversial for its eroticism, especially considering its author's very young age. Over the decades, Veinte poemas has become Neruda's best-known work, and has sold more than 20 million copies.[1] The book has been translated into many languages; in English, the translation was made by poet W. S. Merwin in 1969. A more recent English translation by J. Simon Harris was released in 2020.

It remains the best selling poetry book in the Spanish language ever, almost 100 years after its first publication. As of 2020, it is in the public domain in the United States.[2]

In 2001, the alternative rock musician Lynda Thomas released as a single the flamenco song "Ay, Ay, Ay", which was based on this work.

This poetry book is also the subject of Pablo Larraín’s acclaimed feature film Neruda starring Gael García Bernal.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Pablo Neruda". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 15 March 2010.
  2. ^ Douglas, Nick. "These 1924 Copyrighted Works Enter the Public Domain in 2020". lifehacker (