Pablo Neruda on the "positive hero"

"I like the 'positive hero' in Walt Whitman and Mayakovsky, that is, in those who found him without a formula and brought him, not without suffering, into the intimacy of our physical life, making him share with us our bread and our dream.

. . . I like the 'positive hero' found in the turbulent trenches of civil wars by the North American Walt Whitman and the Soviet Mayakovsky, but there is also room in my heart of Lautreamont's mourning-clad hero, Laforgue's sighing knight errant, and Baudelaire's negative soldier. Beware of separating these halves of the apple of creation, for we may cut open our hearts and stop living. Beware! We have to demand of the poet that he take his place in the street and in the fight, as well as in the light and in the darkness."

--from Pablo Neruda Memoirs, Translated by Hardie St. Martin, Penguin Books, 1978, p. 294.

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