cover image The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987

The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987

Octavio Paz. New Directions Publishing Corporation, $37.5 (669pp) ISBN 978-0-8112-1037-9

Paz, a cosmopolitan poet, is also intensely Mexican. In his lineswhether long and flowing or spare and chiseledsorrow and solitude are measured against the strength of his people and refracted through the prism of his gentle romanticism (""The world is born when two people kiss''). From India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and France, the poet-diplomat pens updates on the fragile state of the world. Yet if death is an ever-present reality in his poetry, so is hope. In addition to editor Weinberger, translators for this 800-page bilingual collection include Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Denise Levertov, Mark Strand and Charles Thomlinson. From the circular poem ``Sunstone'' (1957), modeled on the Aztec calendar, to the intense musings of ``A Tree Within'' (1987), Paz's poetry at its best is a seismograph of our century's turbulence, a crossroads where East meets West. (November 28)