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.... more »

Between Going And Coming

Between going and staying
the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay... more »

As One Listens To The Rain

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,... more »

Octavio Paz Quotes

"Art" is an invention of aesthetics, which in turn is an invention of philosophers.... What we call art is a game.
Octavio Paz (b. 1914), Mexican poet. "André Breton or the Quest of the Beginning," Alternating Current (1967).
Man does not speak because he thinks; he thinks because he speaks. Or rather, speaking is no different than thinking: to speak is to think.
Octavio Paz (b. 1914), Mexican poet. "André Breton or the Quest of the Beginning," Alternating Current (1967).
If we are a metaphor of the universe, the human couple is the metaphor par excellence, the point of intersection of all forces and the seed of all forms. The couple is time recaptured, the return to the time before time.
Octavio Paz (b. 1914), Mexican poet. "André Breton or the Quest of the Beginning," Alternating Current (1967).

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