Paz Octavio 1914 - 1998 (84)

Deserve your dream.



I go among your body as among the world, your belly the sunlit center of the city, your breasts two churches where are celebrated the great parallel mysteries of the blood, the looks of my eyes cover you like ivy, you are a city by the sea assaulted, you are a rampart by the light divided into two halves, distinct, color of peaches, and you are saltiness, you are rocks and birds beneath the edict of concentrated noon and dressed in the coloring of my desires

Octavio Pas was an important Mexican poet, essayist, translator and diplomat; he was born in Mexico City on March 31, 1914. His father was a lawyer and advisor to Emiliano Zapata, he was away most of the time with the rebels, his mother had difficulties to nourish her children. Octavio was a good student and began studying at Williams College in Mexico City, but after the Zapata murder he was forced to immigrate to the United States because of his father's involvement in the revolutionary movement. He had read the classic works of world literature in his grandfather’s rich library and in 1931 published his first poetry collection. Four years later abandoned his legal studies and went to the Yucatan province where he worked against illiteracy of the villagers and wrote a long poem about the poor living conditions of farmers under the authority of Mexican landowners. In 1937 he went to Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. He supported the left movement, but also abdicated Communism and was one of the first who publicly criticized Stalin's crimes. In 1938 he married Elena Garro, a famous Mexican writer with whom he had a daughter. In 1943 he continued his law studies at the University of Berkeley and two years later he entered the Mexican Diplomatic Corps.

He was originally placed in New York and in 1945 transferred to Paris. Since 1952 he was moved to India, Tokyo, Japan, and later to Geneva, Switzerland. He returned to Mexico City in 1954 and in 1957 he wrote the poem "sunstone", which has been described as one of the most beautiful erotic poems of Latin American literature. In 1959 he divorced and followed his mistress, an Italian painter, to Paris. In 1963 he married a Frenchwoman with whom he would live until the end of his life. In October 1968 he resigned from the Diplomatic Corps, protesting the slaughter by government forces of demonstrators in the city of Mexico. He lived in Paris for a while and returned to Mexico in 1969, setting up the magazine ‘Pluralism’ which the government banned it after a while. From 1970 to 1974 he taught at Harvard and was a guest speaker at many other universities. From 1971 he lived mainly in Mexico, in 1981 he was awarded the Cervantes Prize, and in 1990 the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died of cancer in 1998. Apart from an important poet, he was also one of the most original thinkers of the 20th century. He had published 12 poetry collections and had written many essays covering a wide range of disciplines, from anthropology to literary criticism and ethnology.