March 31 - Octavio Paz

Bio: The poet and essayist Octavio Paz was born in 1914 in Mexico City. Paz came into early contact with literature due to his grandfather’s extensive library and he began to write at an early age. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1990 “for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity”.

Anecdotes:

  • Paz had a keen interest and passion for the native Mexican culture, especially Aztec. This is reflected in many of his works.
  • Paz traveled extensively, including to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. He also was the Mexican ambassador to India from 1962 until 1968.
  • Paz studied Buddhism and Tantrism whilst he lived in India.
  • Paz’s collected (not complete) poems fill over 700 pages.

Final sentences:

I hear the light beat on the other side.

from “This Side

Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.

from “Homage to Claudio Ptolemy

I know that I am alive
between two parentheses.

from “Certainty

Not the past
the present is untouchable

from “Return

The butterfly never wondered:
it flew.

from “Example

I breathe
the moment, empty and eternal.

from “Interval

Sources: 1, 2, Selected Poems and Collected Poems 1957-1987 (New Directions 1984 and 1987)


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    Octavio
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    Un ídolo mexicano.
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