The Poems of Octavio Paz

Overview

Here at last is the first retrospective collection of Paz’s poetry to span his entire writing career, from the first published poem, at age seventeen, to his magnificent last poem; the whole is assiduously edited and translated by acclaimed essayist Eliot Weinberger — who has been translating Paz for over forty years.
In 1990, the Swedish Academy awarded Octavio Paz the Nobel Prize in Literature “for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence ...

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Overview

Here at last is the first retrospective collection of Paz’s poetry to span his entire writing career, from the first published poem, at age seventeen, to his magnificent last poem; the whole is assiduously edited and translated by acclaimed essayist Eliot Weinberger — who has been translating Paz for over forty years.
In 1990, the Swedish Academy awarded Octavio Paz the Nobel Prize in Literature “for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity.” Paz is “a writer for the entire world to celebrate” (Chicago Tribune), “the poet-archer who goes straight to the heart and mind, where the center of being is one” (Nadine Gordimer),“the living conscience of his age” (Mario Vargas Llosa), “a poet-prophet, a genius” (Harold Bloom). Here at last is the first retrospective collection of Paz’s poetry to span his entire writing career, from the first published poem, at age seventeen, to his magnificent last poem; the whole is assiduously edited and translated by acclaimed essayist Eliot Weinberger — who has been translating Paz for over forty years — with additional translations by several poet-luminaries. This edition includes many poems that have never been translated into English before, new translations based on Paz’s final revisions, and a brilliant capsule biography of Paz by Weinberger, as well as notes on the poems in Paz’s own words, taken from various interviews he gave throughout his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Paz (1914–1998), who won the Nobel Prize in 1990, dominated Mexican letters during the last decades of his life; his influence was global, and his powers of invention beyond dispute. This ambitious bilingual selection (far from complete, despite the title) is the first to span his career. Readers new to Paz will notice consistencies—self-consciousness about words and meanings, as “Syllables/ ripen in the mind,/ flower in the mouth”; erotic passion; reliance on common nouns (sun, flame, leaves); and a sense of poetic authority—“listen to me as one listens to the rain.” And yet the same readers may marvel at Paz’s variety: haiku-like miniatures; the tempestuous book-length poem “Sunstone”; fast-moving prose poems; abstract odes; extended descriptions of places in Mexico, India, Afghanistan, and Japan; flourishing responses to visual art; even a long and passionate poem (“Blanco”) that divides itself in two parallel columns, perhaps corresponding to male and female. The essayist Weinberger translated Paz, with Paz’s approval, for decades; he has revised some versions to fit Paz’s revisions, included a few by other hands, and supplied careful explanatory notes. The result is that rarity, an authoritative translation that should get sustained U.S. attention, and that often sounds right read aloud. (Oct.)
The Los Angeles Times
Paz’s great achievement was to infuse thought into poetry and poetry into thought. He charged his prose with metaphorical lightning and his poetry with discursive lucidity.”— Carlos Fuentes
Bookslut

"[Paz] believed in poetry's ability to cleanse our perception, free us from clichés of the mind and the body, and intensify experience."

Three Percent

The pleasure of this volume is the consistent, almost gentle voice that lays out for the reader Paz's convictions and questions. 'Gentle' though should not indicate easy of peaceful or unquestioning. Paz raises his anxieties, doubts, and disruptions. Rather it is the artfulness with which he does so that carries the reader along.

The London Review of Books
“The question of who or what writes a poem, which agency creates which pieces, even if none of the players is exactly automatic, takes us a long way into Paz’s work, handsomely represented in this new collection.”
Carlos Fuentes
““Paz’s great achievement was to infuse thought into poetry and poetry into thought. He charged his prose with metaphorical lightning and his poetry with discursive lucidity.””
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811220439
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/23/2012
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 949,907
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was born in Mexico City. He wrote many volumes of poetry, as well as a prolific body of remarkable works of nonfiction on subjects as varied as poetics, literary and art criticism, politics, culture, and Mexican history. He was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 1977, the Cervantes Prize in 1981, and the Neustadt Prize in 1982. He received the German Peace Prize for his political work, and finally, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.

Eliot Weinberger (b. NYC, 1949), is an essayist and translator. He won PEN’s first Gregory Kolovakos Award for promoting Hispanic literature in the US, and he is America’s first literary writer to receive Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle. He lives in New York City.

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