Octavio Paz (1914 - 1998) was a Mexican poet and diplomat. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“The interview you are about to read, conducted in 1983, eight years before Paz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, is the record of a conversation between two spirited and original poets. Melinda is interested in Octavio’s cosmology—at first he retreats: “That’s a big question, cosmology…” he replies, but throughout the course of the interview she coaxes this out of him, artist to artist. They discuss history, psychology, the creative process, politics, eroticism, the accuracy of Milton’s Hell, and they comment on an eclectic mix of writers—though again and again the conversation returns to the poetic.
“Paz imagines not only using language, but being on it, as a wave: “I can see myself swimming in the language.” As Melinda moves down the street she sometimes becomes the words she imagines—she too is swept into the wave. Paz observes that in his work he hopes to transcend the limits of reason; the great problem of our time, he notes, is the separation of reason and the unconscious. As a young writer Melinda wonders where intellect alone will take us, and this leads the older writer to debate the triumph of rationalism, sexual repression, and the nature of love. As a reader it is a delight to follow their thought, to ride the wave that carries us to the shore of language.”
- From the introduction by Scott Chaskey