«The words and the Days», Octavio Paz

Portrait of Octavio Paz

Portrait of Octavio Paz

CONACULTA (National Council for Culture and the Arts), through the General Directorate of Publications, and the Economic Culture Fund, were pleased to announce the publication of the book "The words and the days”. An anthology that compiles the best works in poetry and essay by Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize for Literature in Mexico.

The goal is that, through this 320-page publication, the country's youths get much closer to the writer who earned them a Nobel. The editor of the book, Ricardo Cayuela Gally, said about Paz, "Octavio Paz's work is alive, it is a refuge to withdraw from the unreason of the world and a compass to orient oneself and act in it."

The book is divided into two parts, depending on the genre. The first corresponds to the prose works of the author, where they are, for the most part, all the essays he wrote, beginning with Mexican Masks, a fundamental text that is part of "El Laberinto de la Soledad. Throughout this first part the most significant works of the author were brought together, in which the thought of the most recognized prose poetry writers, such as Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, or Rafael Alberti, works as well as develops his line of thought around the plastic arts, focusing a lot on Luis Buñuel as an exponent of Surrealism. Also dealing with topics such as history and politics.

The second part of the anthology contains the poetry works written by Octavio. This section brings together writings published in more than ten books, made between 1935 and 1996. It includes texts from publications such as Freedom on Speech, La Estación Violenta, Salamandra y Días Business, Ladera, and also, as a closing of the anthology, a incredible poetry written by Octavio Paz where he seems to be saying goodbye to life, nine years before his death, since it is dated May 1989, and Paz dies in April 1998. The poetry is called Colophon, epitaph on a stone.

A publication that I really applaud, since it is very important that an author like Octavio Paz be recognized in relation to his arrival with the younger audience. A Nobel, I think, is anecdotal if there is no one on the street who reads it to you.

I now attach a text by the author, which I think speaks more than any criticism, comment or return can be made.

WHAT IS POETRY? by Octavio Paz

Poetry is knowledge, salvation, power, abandonment. Operation capable of changing the world, poetic activity is revolutionary by nature; spiritual exercise is a method of inner liberation. Poetry reveals this world; create another. Bread of the elect; cursed food. Isolates; unites. Invitation to the trip; return to the homeland. Inspiration, breathing, muscle exercise. Prayer to the void, dialogue with absence: boredom, anguish and despair feed it. Prayer, litany, epiphany, presence. Exorcism, spell, magic. Sublimation, compensation, condensation of the unconscious. Historical expression of races, nations, classes. It denies history: within it all objective conflicts are resolved and man finally becomes aware of being something more than transit. Experience, feeling, emotion, intuition, undirected thinking. Daughter of chance; fruit of calculation. Art of speaking in a superior way; primitive language. Obedience to the rules; creation of others. Imitation of the ancients, copy of the real thing, copy of a copy of the Idea. Madness, ecstasy, logos. Back to childhood, intercourse, nostalgia for paradise, hell, limbo. Play, work, ascetic activity. Confession. Innate experience. Vision, music, symbol. Analogy: the poem is a snail where the music of the world resounds and meters and rhymes are nothing but correspondences, echoes, of universal harmony. Teaching, moral, example, revelation, dance, dialogue, monologue. Voice of the people, language of the chosen, word of the lonely. Pure and impure, sacred and cursed, popular and minority, collective and personal, naked and dressed, spoken, painted, written, it shows all the faces but there are those who affirm that it does not have any: the poem is a mask that hides the emptiness, beautiful proof of the superfluous greatness of all human work!


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  1.   rudyarche. said

    An excellent work, I think it urges you from the first page read, to immerse yourself in its world without a world, to put realistic and sensible reason, to transpose that prose, but above all that poetry, to everyday life, to understand the unbearable reality , and glimpse how great Paz was.