Poetry inspired by Milton Rogovin

Windows That Open Inward

In 1967, Milton Rogovin was invited to collaborate on a project with the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. While at Neruda's home in Isla Negra, Chile, Milton photographed Neruda's living room. The ceiling had the names of poets who were influential to Neruda.

Related Publications

Windows that Open Inward contains poems by Pablo Neruda and photographs by Milton Rogovin. This book was published in 2004 by White Pine Press. Milton's involvement with Neruda and his month-long photographing trip to Chile is spoken about in films and books on Milton's photography.

The House in the Sand was first published as, Una Casa en la Arena in 1966, with poems by Pablo Neruda and photographs by Sergio Larraín. In 2004, White Pine Press republished the book with five photographs from Milton Rogovin's images from Neruda’s house in Isla Negra, Chile.

Key to the Poets Mentioned in "Los Nombres/The Names"

Rojas Giménez, Chilean poet
Joaquín Cifuentes, Chilean poet
Frederico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet
Paul Eluard, French poet
Miguel Hernándes, Spanish poet
Nazim Hikmet, Turkish poet

About Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda during a Library of Congress recording session, June 20, 1966.

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) held diplomatic posts in Asian and European countries. After joining the Communist Party, Neruda was elected to the Chilean Senate but was forced to live in exile in Mexico for several years. Eventually he established a permanent home on Isla Negra. In 1970 he was appointed as Chile's ambassador to France; in 1971 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Poems reproduced on this website by permission of the publisher.

Pablo Neruda's introduction to the book Windows That Open Inward: Images of Chile published by White Pine Press, 1999

The Islands and Rogovin
Pablo Neruda, Isla Negra, 1967

I did not know Milton Rogovin.

His Letter asked me an uncommon question. He wanted to photograph the truth. I suggested that he come to our Southernmost part, to the Archipeligo, to Quemchi, to Chonchi, to the sleepy shores of the South of the Americas.

He arrived quickly, well equipped and efficient: North American. He came loaded down with lenses and camera. He was too much for our simplicity. I recommended to him a good umbrella. He went ahead to the remote villages.

But he carried much more than his equipment. Patient eyes and searching. A heart sensitive to light, to rain, to the shadows.
Soon he returned and left us. He returned to Kansas, Oregon, and Mississippi. But this time he took along with him a bouquet of wonderful images; the portrait of the truth. Portrait of humble truth that is lost in the inclemency of the islands.

Walls of the humble home with their windows that open inwards, to the mythology, to the whispering, to the black clothes. Eyes, penetrating and dark with sparks buried, like forgotten embers in fireplaces where once fire had burnt so intensely.

Rogovin photographed the silence. Left intact in their mystery those insular depths of the islands which are revealed to us in simple objects, in crystalline poetry, as if the little village were living under the water with legendary belfries next to anchors of mythological vessels. The great photographer immersed himself in the poetry of simplicity and came to the surface with the net full of clear fish and flowers of profundity.

Because the earth is extremely unfaithful, it offers itself to the foreign eye and deceives our eye, our indifference, our ways.

Rogovin had come, photographer of the poor Negro, of the black liturgy, of the humiliated children of the North, so that he may uncover for us of the South, and so that he can take with him the truth of the South, with those dark eyes which looked at us and we did not see, with the poor pathetic and poetic poverty of the fatherland which we love and do not know.

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Inspired by Milton's Photography: Poetry by Pablo Neruda

The names
The rafters in Pablo Neruda's studio.

Los Nombres

     No los escribí en la techumbre por grandiosos, sino
por companeros.
      Rojas Giménez, el trashumante, el nocturno,
traspasado por los adioses, muerto de alegría, palamero, loco de la sombra.
     Joaquín Giminez, cuyos tercetos rodaban como
Piedras del rio.
      Federico, que me hacía reir como nadie y que nos
enluto a todos por un siglo.
     Paul Eluard, cuyos ojos color de nomeolvides me
Parece que siguen celestes y que guardan su fuerza azul bajo
La tierra.
      Miguel Hernándes, silbándome a manera de ruisenor
Desde los arboles de la calle de la Princesa antes de que los
Presidios atraparan a mi ruisenor.
      Nazim, aeda rumoroso, caballero valiente, companero.
     Por que se fueron tan pronto? Cada uno de ellos fue una victoria.
Juntos fueron para mi toda la luz. Ahora, una pequena
Antolpgia de mis dolores.

The Names

     I didn't write them on the roofbeams because they
were famous, but because they were companions
     Rojas Giménez, the nomad, nocturnal, pierced with
the grief of farewells, dead with joy pigeon breeder, madman
of the shadows
     Joaquín Cifruntes, whose verses rolled like stones in
the river.
     Fredrico, who made me laugh like no on else could
and who put us all in mourning for a century.
     Paul Eluard, whose forget-me-not color eyes are as sky
blue as always and retain their blue strength under the earth.
     Miguel Hernándes, whistling to me like a nightingale
from the trees on Princesa Street until they caged my
nightingale.
     Nazim, noisy bard, brave gentleman, friend.
     Why did they leave so soon? Their names will not slip
down from the rafters. Each one of them was a victory.
Together they were the sum of my light. Now, a small
anthology of my sorrow.

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