Sunday, June 6, 2010

Octavio Paz

I count Octavio Paz as one of the most influential writers to my own writing that I have so far encountered. His poetry is technically proficient, inspirational and unusual enough to let him stand as one of the great poets of world literature. But his oeuvre includes so much more. Literary studies, political writing, explorations of aesthetics and art are all inclusive in this great man's contribution to world letters.

His great poem I believe is 'Sunstone'. A sprawling aesthetic vision, it takes the reader to where they most want to go - that is through the clouds and into what is beyond. My favourite prose work of Paz's is Alternating Currents. It combines thought, words and concepts in usual and delightful ways, and explores literature and art in such a bold and assured way that one is only swept along with delight.

It all started for Paz in his grandfather's library where he was able to read extensively as a young boy. The depth of his learning and poetic voice no doubt stem from this time.

Paz showed courage to resign from his post as a Mexican diplomat in protest of the deaths of Mexican students by government hands.

Paz's award of the Nobel Prize is only a small testament to his outstanding achievement. It is the assuredness of his writing, particularly of his poetry, which really strikes one. In fact even his prose has a poetic brilliance which distinguishes this man as a poet foremost (he thought so himself) and otherwise a writer of great intelligence.

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