Chilean Government Delivers 60,000 Copies of Mistral and Neruda Anthologies

By Dialogo
June 15, 2009

Santiago de Chile, June 11 (EFE). - Today the Chilean government delivered 60,000 copies of books by Nobel Literature Prize winners Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral to the libraries of all colleges, elementary schools, and high schools for the nation’s next bicentennial. The main characteristic of Antología Popular by Pablo Neruda and Antología, Selección de la Autora by Gabriela Mistral is that both poets renounced their copyrights so these works would benefit the students. The Bicentennial Commission complied with the wish that both Mistral and Neruda expressed regarding their anthologies: that “most readers could have access to them.” Hence, the copies were not put on sale, but were all distributed free to the libraries of municipalized, subsidized, and independent educational institutions. In 1972 Neruda, who was seriously ill, prepared his Antología Popular, and asked President Salvador Allende to print a million copies to offer his poetic legacy to all Chileans. However, the poet’s project was sabotaged by the 1973 coup d’etat that made the dictator Augusto Pinochet the country’s ruler, and most of Neruda’s books were destroyed. Meanwhile, in 1941, Gabriela Mistral made a selection of her favorite poems. The author’s wish was to encourage the students in her country, particularly the children from her hometown of Montegrande, located in northern Chile; therefore, she renounced her copyrights. The Minister of Education, Mónica Jiménez, praised the publication of these anthologies as “a way of representing what we have become after 200 years of independence. They are a way to extol our stamp of identity, associated since the times of La Araucana to poetic exaltation.”