Tentativa del hombre infinito / Venture of the Infinite Man
Poetry , 1926
Venture of the infinite man was Neruda's third book, published in 1926, two years after his widely celebrated Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. In a stark stylistic departure from the love poems, Neruda composed an epic poem in 15 cantos, discarding rhyme, meter, punctuation and capitalization in what he described as an attempt to better capture the voice of the subconscious. His readers were not prepared for this experiment, and decades after its publication, Neruda lamented that "one of the most important books of my poetry" remained woefully neglected and virtually unknown.
Neruda considered Venture essential to his evolution: "Within its smallness and minimal expression, more than most of my works, it claimed, it secured, the path that I had to follow."
"Experimental, obscure, timeless, essential, Venture of the infinite man, published two years after his famous Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, set Pablo Neruda on his course toward becoming the greatest poet in the history of the Spanish language. Its publication in English is a historic event, above all today, above all in this moment, above all, now."––Raúl Zurita
"In his early twenties and after the enormous success of Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Neruda surprised everyone by changing aesthetic gears in this book that was at once innovative and emblematic. The effort was part of what would ultimately become his ceaseless embrace of change as the sine qua non of style."—Ilan Stavans, editor of The Poetry of Pablo Neruda
"This book has the fascination of being Neruda becoming Neruda. It's the brilliant young poet who made himself famous at nineteen and twenty with Twenty Love Poems, beginning to absorb the lessons of the new surrealism and making his way to the world poet he would become in Residence on Earth. So it is a leap into the imagination of one of the crucial poets of the twentieth century as he is feeling his way."––Robert Hass