venture of the infinite man

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6 questions for Jessica Powell on translating venture, in conversation with Scott Esposito

venture of the infinite man

Pablo Neruda's long-overlooked third book of poetry, critical in his poetic evolution, now translated into English for the very first time, new from City Lights Publishers.


Introduction by Mark Eisner
Translated by Jessica Powell


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 subconsious. 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."

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Praise for venture of the infinite man

"What an act of generosity this book is. Eisner's introduction contextualizes and informs precisely as needed, and Jessica Powell’s translation achieves astonishing beauty and refreshing truth. She has listened deeply to Neruda’s text."
— Katherine Silver, translator

"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, author of Anteparaíso

"Readers can now experience the moment Neruda evolved from being only a brilliant singer of love poems into a maker of rich, stunning worlds. This book is a treasure."
— Tomás Q. Morín, author of Patient Zero

"Jessica Powell does wonders rendering these cantos for the first time into English, filling in a gap his legion of admirers will be thankful for. This isn't only an unseen Neruda but an unforeseen one too."
— Ilan Stavans, editor of The Poetry of Pablo Neruda


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