Today the Chilean poet, politician and Nobel Laureate would have turned 112 years old.
While he would go on to become one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, Neruda also had strong political convictions, known for his affiliation with the Communist Party and his support of Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro.
Neruda is perhaps best known for his collection of "Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair," but he also wrote in various styles including surrealism, historical epics, and political manifestos.
In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams.”
During his lifetime, Neruda held many diplomatic positions and was a senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When President Gonzalez Videla outlawed communism in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda's arrest, seeing him hide for months in the basement of a house.
Neruda died in 1973 days after the Pinochet regime took power in Chile through a brutal coup, and while it was reported that he died of heart failure, many suspect that he was poisoned. In 2013 an investigation was even launched with Neruda's body being exhumed to determine whether he was assassinated by Pinochet's regime, a mystery that still lingers.
Today Neruda remains the best known poets in Latin America and arguably one of the most famous worldwide.