Neruda was a kind of King Midas. Everything he touched turned to poetry, says Gabriel García Márquez, who also considers the Chilean Nobel laureate "the greatest poet of the twentieth century, in any language." [The Fragrance of Guava, 1983]. The Canto General, thought by many of Neruda's most prominent critics to be the poet's masterpiece, is the stunning epic of an entire continent and its people. The Canto speaks of the destiny of Latin American peoples and the life of the poet himself. Without question, this is one of the most important and powerful long poems written in the modern period.