Bono was at the Chilean Embassy in Dublin this morning to receive the ‘Pablo Neruda’ Medal of Honour.

23 Sep 2004
To mark the centenary of the birth of the legendary poet, the Chilean Government have nominated 100 poets and artists to receive a Medal in his honour - Bono is one.

'We are well aware of Bono's tremendous contribution to better understanding among people. In fact, Bono has excelled not only in his music but also in his socially conscious endeavours,' said Ambassarod Alberto Yoacham . 'He's an inspiration to all of us.'

In his response, Bono said that the award was particularly meaningful as it recognised his musical rather than his humanitarian achievements.

'The bottom line is that I'm a writer. It's a big deal for me to get an award that is about what I do as a writer rather than trying to save the world,' he said.

'The fact that it is a Pablo Neruda medal is an amazing thing as he's regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, poets of the last century. I'll take it home proudly.'

There were lots of references to wine - another great Chilean contribution !

Unsurprisingly, Bono was also asked about the new album.

'It has taken 20-odd years to make this album.' he said. 'It's a very personal record and the album title, HTDAAB, really refers to my father. I should have called it How To Dismantle The Atomic Bob.'

'It's an incredible thing to finish (the album),' he added. 'It's like getting out of jail.

'It's very important for us that it will be a great piece of work, not just good or even very good. You can't live like we live, have all this success and make a crap album. I can't live with that.'

Vertigo, the first song on the album and the new single, is a rock song, he continued, but the remainder of the tracks 'go somewhere very different.'

'I think we might have touched a bit of magic. The Edge is on fire in a way that I haven't heard him in many years. He's an extraordinary guitar player, a great genius of a musician, and I think he deserves all the accolade on this one.'

Poetry fans worldwide have been marking 100 years since the birth of Neruda, one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century.

He was born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto in July 1904 in the town of Parral in Chile.

He changed his name to Pablo Neruda at the age of 16, in memory of the Czechoslovakian poet Jan Neruda.

According to Colombia's most famous writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Neruda is 'the greatest poet of the 20th Century'.

He is particularly renowned for his early poetry, with sales of 20 Poems Of Love And A Song Of Despair stretching into the millions.

He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

When U2 played Santiago in 1998, Bono remarked that he had taken time to visit the grave of Neruda and dedicated a song to his memory.


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