Octavio Paz

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Octavio Paz: Carlos Fuentes

Paz, Octavio

Paz, Octavio (oktäˈvyō päsˈ), 1914–98, Mexican poet and critic. A diplomat, he lived abroad many years. Paz's books—revealing depth of insight, elegance, and erudition—place him among his generation's ablest writers. His works include the poetry collections La estación violenta (1956), Piedra de sol (1957), Alternating Current (tr. 1973), Configurations (tr. 1971), Early Poems: 1935–1955 (tr. 1974), and Collected Poems, 1957–1987 (1987); the volumes of essays The Labyrinth of Solitude (tr. 1963), The Other Mexico (tr. 1972); and El arco y la lira (1956; tr. The Bow and the Lyre, 1973); criticism; and studies of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Marcel Duchamp (both, tr. 1970). In 1971–72 Paz delivered the Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard; they are collected in Children of the Mire: Modern Poetry from Romanticism to the Avant-Garde (1974). In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.


See I. Ivask, ed., The Perpetual Present (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Paz, Octavio


Born Mar. 31, 1914, in Mexico City. Mexican poet.

Paz’ first book of poetry, ¡No pasarán! (They Shall Not Pass, 1937), dealt with the Spanish national revolutionary war of 1936–39. Among his later collections were Man’s Roots (1937), Beneath Your Clear Shadow (1937), On the World’s Edge (1942), Freedom Under a Word of Honor (1949), The Seeds of a Hymn (1954), Sun Stone (1957), and The Whole Wind (1966). The poems in these works reveal Paz as an intellectual poet inclined toward lofty figurative language and intense meditation. His poems are often concerned with the cultural legacy of ancient Mexico and of the peoples of Asia. Paz regards the poet’s mission in modern society to be the renewal of man’s unity with the surrounding world. In his book of essays Labyrinth of Solitude (1950) he examines the distinctive character of Mexican history and the psychology of the Mexicans. Paz also wrote the study The Bow and the Lyre (1956), which deals with the essence of poetry, and articles on Mexican culture. In 1972 he headed the journal Plural.


Libertad bajo palabra: Obra poética (1935–1958). Mexico City, 1960.


Obregón Morales, R. “Chelovek vykhodit na pervyi plan.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1970, no. 6.
Leiva, R. Imagen de la poesía mexicana contemporanea. Mexico City, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Octavio Paz y los enemigos de la sociedad abierta", en: Varios, (2001).
COLLABORATION: Abstract artist Robert Motherwell created a series of paintings, including this one, in a joint project with Mexican poet Octavio Paz
Then Octavio Paz. A couple years later, when friends suggested we go to a Latino dance bar, I went willingly.
Melinda Camber Porter in Conversation with Octavio Paz, Cuernavaca, Mexico 1983