POETRY MONTH 2014 Homage to writer/poet Octavio Paz (1914-1998) Centennial Birthday Celebration
Co-sponsored by BOOK HUGGERS and ECOARTPEDIA
"Among a democratic people poetry will not be fed with legends or the memorials of old traditions. The poet will not attempt to people the universe with supernatural beings, in whom his readers and his own fancy have ceased to believe; nor will he coldly personify virtues and vices, which are better received under their own features. All these resources fail him; but Man remains, and the poet needs no more. The destinies of mankind, man himself taken aloof from his country and his age and standing in the presence of Nature and of God, with his passions, his doubts, his rare prosperities and inconceivable wretchedness, will become the chief, if not the sole, theme of poetry among these nations." Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America".
In 1989 Octavio Paz received the Alexis de Tocqueville Prize from France. In 1990 the Swedish Academy of Letters awarded Octavio Paz the Nobel Prize for Literature for his "impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity".
In 2014 Mexico celebrates "2014 Year of Octavio Paz" with national and international Agendas from March 20 thru December 31, 2014. For information visit Octavio Paz website created for this worldwide Centennial Birthday Celebrations.
Excerpts from "In Search of the Present" 1990 Nobel Prize Lecture..."What is modernity? It is, first of all, an ambiguous term: there are as many types of modernity as there are societies. Each society has its own...For us Latin Americans the search for poetic modernity runs historically parallel to the repeated attempts to modernize our countries. This movement begins at the end of the eighteenth century and includes Spain herself. While the United States was born into modernity and, as Tocqueville observed, by 1830 was already the womb of the future, we were born at the moment when Spain and Portugal were moving away from modernity."
"Reflecting on the NOW does not mean relinquishing the future or forgetting the past. The present is the meeting place for the two directions of time. It should not be confused with facile hedonism...Tomorrow we shall have a philosophy of the present. The poetic experience could be one of its foundations. What do we know about the present? Nothing or almost nothing. Yet the poets do know one thing: the present is the source of presences."
"In this pilgrimage in search of modernity I lost my way at many points, only to find myself again. I returned to the source and discovered that modernity is not outside but within us. It is today and the most ancient antiquity; it is tomorrow and the beginning of the world; it is a thousand years old and yet newborn...a simultaneous plurality of time and presence: modernity breaks with the immediate past only to recover an age-old past...we pursue modernity in her incessant metamorphoses yet we never catch her. Each encounter ends in flight...The instant is like a bird that is everywhere and nowhere. We want to trap it alive, but it flaps its wings and is gone in a spray of syllables. We are left emptyhanded. Then the doors of perception open slightly and the OTHER time appears, the real time we had been seeking without knowing: the present, the presence"/Octavio Paz/1990/Translated by Anthony Stanton
Welcome to POETRY MONTH 2014 Homage to Octavio Paz
TAGS: tangible/untangible Libraries (Borges's Alphabets); visible/invisible Places (Calvino's Cities); private/intimate Time-Capsules (Cornell's Boxes); mobile/portable Readymades (Duchamp's Valises); journey/present/destination Modernity (PAZ's Poems)The possibilities of a Book Collection are many when the quest is permanent. It is possible then that the urge to collect and to build our personal INTIMATE LIBRARIES comes from familiar/unfamiliar languages residing among visible/invisible places within ourselves: it is the Poet's Voice encountering the 'Other', as Octavio Paz suggests. It presents rare opportunities to understand what makes us human and to learn, simultaneously, about the presence of poetic journeys, passages and destinations opening ahead of us at every instant.
The possibility of gathering Octavio Paz's personal INTIMATE LIBRARY is impossible because at the time of his death in 1998 he had not written his Autobiography. Fortunately in 1994 and with his assistance, "Octavio Paz Obras Completas" were published in Mexico and we, the Readers of his books, will be able to approximate the multiple universal thoughts and feelings nested within his personal INTIMATE LIBRARY.
I am one of those 'Readers'. My first significant encounter with PAZ's Voice took place in 1984. The publication of his book "Hombres en su Siglo y otros ensayos" coincided with "Conversations with Octavio Paz" at a Mexican TV cultural program aired that year. And in 1987, his books "A Tree Within" and "Mexico in the work of Octavio Paz" originated a series of twelve TV programs aired during 1989. Today, Paz's Voice is accessible to the world via internet/An invitation that cannot be refused
Octavio Paz DECIR, HACER