Figures & Figurations by Octavio Paz

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A beautiful collaboration between husband and wife. His poems to her collages, call and response from Mexico's greatest poet. "Marie José's constructions and boxes are three-dimensional objects transfigured by her imagination and her sensibility into visual ideas, mental enigmas, bearers of bizarre and disturbing images, or of ironic perceptions. More than things to be seen, they are wings for traveling, sails for wandering and wondering, mirrors through which to cross." —Octavio Paz Figures & Figurations, one of the last books completed by the late Mexican poet Octavio Paz before his death in 1998, is a collaborative effort with his wife of thirty years, the artist Marie José Paz. In response to ten of her collage-constructions, he wrote ten new short poems; she in turn created two new artworks in response to two of his earlier poems. Twelve poems, twelve pieces of art reproduced in full color, in a book first published in Spanish in 1999 and now appearing in a bilingual edition.

In addition to the poems and collage-constructions, Figures & Figurations includes an essay by Octavio Paz on Marie José Paz's work, "The Whitecaps of Time," in which he relates how her friendship with Joseph Cornell became a stimulus for her assemblages and how she was further spurred on by other friends, such as Roman Jakobson and Elizabeth Bishop. "These objects sometime surprise us," he writes, "sometimes make us laugh or dream. Signs that invite us to a motionless voyage of fantasy, bridges to the infinitely small or galactic distances, windows that open on to nowhere. The art of Marie José is a dialogue between here and there."


About Octavio Paz

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Octavio Paz is the author of more than forty columes of poetry and prose. Eliot Weinberger (b. NYC, 1949), is an essayist and translator. He won PEN's first Gregory Kolovakos Award for promoting Hispanic literature in the US, and he is America's first literary writer to receive Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle. He lives in New York City.
Published November 1, 2002 by New Directions. 64 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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