Octavio Paz (March 31, 1914 - April 19, 1998)
Born: 31st March, 1914
Died: 19th April, 1998
Nationality: Mexican
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: Mexico City, Mexico
Literary movement: Surrealism, Existentialism
Notable works: "Bajo tu clara sombra y otros poemas", "The Poems of Octavio Paz", "Sun Stone", "The Labyrinth of Solitude"
Genres: Fiction
Types of literature: Poems

Octavio Paz Facts

Biography

Octavio Paz, (born March 31, 1914, Mexico City, Mexico—died April 19, 1998, Mexico City), Mexican poet, writer, and diplomat, recognized as one of the major Latin American writers of the 20th century. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.

Paz’s family was ruined financially by the Mexican Civil War, and he grew up in straitened circumstances. Nonetheless, he had access to the excellent library that had been stocked by his grandfather, a politically active liberal intellectual who had himself been a writer. Paz was educated at a Roman Catholic school and at the University of Mexico. He published his first book of poetry, Luna silvestre (“Forest Moon”), in 1933 at age 19. In 1937 the young poet visited Spain, where he identified strongly with the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. His reflection on that experience, Bajo tu clara sombra y otros poemas (“Beneath Your Clear Shadow and Other Poems”), was published in Spain in 1937 and revealed him as a writer of real promise. Before returning home Paz visited Paris, where Surrealism and its adherents exerted a profound influence on him.

Back in Mexico, Paz founded and edited several important literary reviews, including Taller (“Workshop”) from 1938 to 1941 and El hijo pródigo (“The Prodigal Son”), which he cofounded in 1943. His major poetic publications included No pasaran! (1937; “They Shall Not Pass!”), Libertad bajo palabra (1949; “Freedom Under Parole”), ¿Águila o sol? (1951; Eagle or Sun?), and Piedra de sol (1957; The Sun Stone). In the same period, he produced prose volumes of essays and literary criticism, including El laberinto de la soledad (1950; The Labyrinth of Solitude), an influential essay in which he analyzes the character, history, and culture of Mexico; and El arco y la lira (1956; The Bow and the Lyre) and Las peras del olmo (1957; “The Pears of the Elm”), which are studies of contemporary Spanish American poetry.

Paz entered Mexico’s diplomatic corps in 1945, after having lived for two years in San Francisco and New York, and served in a variety of assignments, including one as Mexico’s ambassador to India from 1962 to 1968; in the latter year he resigned in protest over Mexico’s brutal treatment of student radicals that year. From 1971 to 1976 Paz edited Plural, and in 1976 he founded Vuelta, which continued to be published until his death in 1998; both were reviews of literature and politics.

His poetry after 1962 includes Blanco (1967; Eng. trans. Blanco), influenced by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poetry and John Cage’s theories on music; Ladera este (1971; “East Slope”), which is suffused with Paz’s understanding of East Indian myths; Hijos del aire (1979; Airborn), sonnet sequences created by Paz and the poet Charles Tomlinson building on each other’s lines; and Árbol adentro (1987; A Tree Within), in which many of the poems are based on works by artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Robert Rauschenberg. An English-language selection, The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957–1987, was published in 1987.

His later prose works, some originally in English, include Conjunciones y disyunciones (1969; Conjunctions and Disjunctions), a discussion of the world’s cultural attitudes; El mono gramático (1974; The Monkey Grammarian), a meditation on language; and Tiempo nublado (1983; “Cloudy Weather,” translated as One Earth, Four or Five Worlds: Reflections on Contemporary History), a study of international politics with emphasis on the relationship between the United States and Latin America.

Paz was influenced in turn by Marxism, Surrealism, existentialism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. In the poetry of his maturity, he used a rich flow of surrealistic imagery in dealing with metaphysical questions. As one critic said, he explored the zones of modern culture outside the marketplace, and his most prominent theme was the human ability to overcome existential solitude through erotic love and artistic creativity. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Paz received numerous other awards, including the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious Spanish-language accolade. The 15-volume Obras completas de Octavio Paz (“Complete Works of Octavio Paz”) was published from 1994 to 2004. The Poems of Octavio Paz (2012) was a career-spanning collection of his poems in English translation.

Top 6 Octavio Paz quotes

I think we all have our own personality, unique and distinctive, and at the same time, I think that our own unique and distinctive personality blends with the wind, with the footsteps in the street, with the noises around the corner, and with the silence of memory, which is the great producer of ghosts.
Around
Corner
Distinctive
Footsteps
Ghosts
Great
I Think
Memory
Noises
Our
Own
Personality
Producer
Same
Changes in our aesthetic tastes have no value or meaning in and of themselves; what has value and meaning is the idea of change itself. Or, better stated: not change in and of itself, but change as an agent or inspiration of modern creations.
Aesthetic
Agent
Better
Change
Changes
Creations
Idea
Inspiration
Itself
Meaning
Modern
Our
Stated
Tastes
For a man of my generation, our century has been a long intellectual and political struggle in favor of freedom.
Been
Century
Favor
Freedom
Generation
Has-Been
Intellectual
Long
Man
My Generation
Our
Political
Struggle
In antiquity, a woman might be an object of worship or desire, but never of love.
Antiquity
Desire
Love
Might
Never
Object
Woman
Worship
Deserve your dream.
Deserve
Dream
Your
Your Dream
Man is alone everywhere. But the solitude of the Mexican, under the great stone night of the high plateau that is still inhabited by insatiable gods, is very different from that of the North American, who wanders in an abstract world of machines, fellow citizens and moral precepts.
Abstract
Alone
American
Citizens
Different
Everywhere
Fellow
Fellow Citizens
Gods
Great
High
Inhabited
Insatiable
Machines

Octavio Paz books

El Laberinto de la Soledad (Spanish Edition)

El Laberinto de la Soledad (Spanish Edition)

The Poems of Octavio Paz

The Poems of Octavio Paz

The Double Flame: Love and Eroticism

The Double Flame: Love and Eroticism

The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz: 1957-1987 (Bilingual Edition)

The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz: 1957-1987 (Bilingual Edition)

In Light of India

In Light of India

La llama doble (Octavio Paz) (Spanish Edition)

La llama doble (Octavio Paz) (Spanish Edition)

The Labyrinth of Solitude Life and Thought in Mexico

The Labyrinth of Solitude Life and Thought in Mexico

Lo mejor de Octavio Paz (Spanish Edition)

Lo mejor de Octavio Paz (Spanish Edition)

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz o las trampas de la fe

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz o las trampas de la fe

Alternating Current

Alternating Current

El laberinto de la soledad. Postdata. Vuelta a El laberinto de la soledad

El laberinto de la soledad. Postdata. Vuelta a El laberinto de la soledad

On Poets and Others

On Poets and Others

Octavio Paz essays

Read more informative topics on our blog
In Search of Your Own Identity Essay
After various writings by Richard Rodriguez and Octavio Paz, I possess come across several realizations. Whom am I? Should I be a part of a nation and a "system" that does not value me, or perhaps should I take part in a nation that does not acknowledge my presence? The United States like a nation would not value myself, and Mexico does not also know that I exist. These are generally difficult concerns to discuss.We all have been in search of our personal identity. However , some of us are placed in a situation that means it is very difficult and confusing to know or figure out. I have always asked..
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