Black and white photograph of Octavio Paz standing in a library.

Octavio Paz

(1914 - 1998)

Born in Mexico City a few months before the start of World War I, Octavio Paz grew up in a family that had been ruined financially by the Mexican Civil War. “I lived in a town on the outskirts of Mexico City, in an old dilapidated house that had a jungle-like garden and a great room full of books,” he wrote. “The garden soon became the center of my world; the library, an enchanted cave.” Paz went abroad to Spain in 1937 to attend the Second International Congress of Anti-Fascist Writers, where he met Pablo Neruda, W.H. Auden, and Tristan Tzara. In addition to publishing books of poetry and prose, he helped to found various influential journals, among them Workshop and The Prodigal Son, and he produced Spanish translations of Bashō, William Carlos Williams, and Fernando Pessoa. Paz received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990.

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