The Chilean poet who became his own pen name

Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto wasn’t the first writer to use a pen name. But, not many make it their legal name. The Chilean poet who became a diplomat and politician named himself after Czech poet Jan Neruda in becoming Pablo Neruda.

Neruda won the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature for his poetry that spanned from historical to political to erotic. He read poetry to 100,000 people in a Sao Paulo, Brazil stadium.

After Chilean president Gonzalez Videla issued a warrant for Neruda, he fled to Argentina in 1948 and didn’t return until 1971. He died in 1973, his procession another political move as thousands took the streets in defiance of Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet.

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