Biography of Octavio Paz
Mexican poet, essayist, and political thinker. His works reflect many influences, including Marxism, surrealism, and Aztec mythology. El laberinto de la soledad/The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950), the book which brought him to world attention, explores Mexico's heritage. His long poem Piedra del sol/Sun Stone (1957) uses contrasting images, centring on the Aztec Calendar Stone (representing the Aztec universe), to symbolize the loneliness of individuals and their search for union with others. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.
In 1962 Paz was appointed Mexican ambassador to India, but resigned in 1968 in protest against the Mexican government's killing of 200 student demonstrators on the eve of the Olympic Games. In 1971 he founded the monthly magazine Plural (later called Vuelta), which he used to analyse socialism and liberalism, urging Mexico to become independent of communist and US influences. His publications include Collected Poems: 1957–87 (1988) and One Earth, Four or Five Worlds/Tiempo Nublado (1984).
Born in Mexico City, Paz studied at the National University of Mexico, but left in 1936 to set up a school to help poor children in rural Yucatán. In 1937 he fought in the Spanish Civil War, in a Republican brigade commanded by David Siqueiros. After a time as a left-wing journalist and Mexican diplomat 1946–51, he concentrated on writing.
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Octavio Paz Poems
No More Clichés
Beautiful face That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun So do you Open your face to me as I turn the page.
Between Going And Coming
Between going and staying the day wavers, in love with its own transparency. The circular afternoon is now a bay
As One Listens To The Rain
Listen to me as one listens to the rain, not attentive, not distracted, light footsteps, thin drizzle,
Your hair is lost in the forest, your feet touching mine. Asleep you are bigger than the night, but your dream fits within this room.
Here is a long and silent street. I walk in blackness and I stumble and fall and rise, and I walk blind, my feet
I am a man: little do I last and the night is enormous. But I look up:
Between now and now, between I am and you are, the word bridge.
Space No center, no above, no below Ceaselessly devouring and engendering itself Whirlpool space
More than air More than water More than lips Light light
I turn the page of the day, writing what I'm told by the motion of your eyelashes.
My hands Open the curtains of your being Clothe you in a further nudity Uncover the bodies of your body
Through the conduits of blood my body in your body spring of night my tongue of sun in your forest
Where Without Whom
There is not A single soul among the trees And I Don't know where I've gone.
In my body you search the mountain for the sun buried in its forest.
I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.