terça-feira, novembro 16, 2010

Octavio Paz and Pablo Neruda Clash of Literary Titans (Third Part).

The Mexican Poet Octavio Paz according to David Levine.
Photo: Courtesy by David Levine. The New York Book Review

Jaime Perales Contreras

As part of the anti-Neruda campaign, it was rumored in Mexico that Octavio Paz was also doing everything possible to ensure that Neruda did not win the Nobel Prize. In a letter made public in 1999 by the magazine Letras Libres, Paz wrote to his friend Efrain Huerta, a poet who had defended Paz against attacks in an article published in the newspaper El diario de Mexico. After thanking his friend for his solidarity, Paz wrote that he couldn't imagine "that such a man and poet as Neruda could believe such stupidities and, what is even more childish, could think that I have any influence over the judges of the Swedish Academy. I don't know any of them. And now that I'm on the subject, I should tell you my opinion: I sincerely believe that two Latin American writers deserve the prize: Neruda and Borges. If I feel that way, how could I plot against a poet I admire? An admiration, it seems unnecessary to add, that does not imply approval of everything he says or does...." Paz's admiration, as one would suppose, was always tempered by Neruda's political stance toward Stalin.

Paz finally reconciled with Neruda in 1967, at the International Poetry Festival in London. When Paz and his wife, Marie Jose, came to greet Neruda in his hotel room, Neruda treated him with his old closeness and familiarity: "What a joy to see you, my son!" According to Paz, they looked at each other askance, realizing how much they had aged. After that brief encounter, they never saw each other again. Later Neruda sent him his book Stones of the Sky with a short inscription expressing warm regards and saying, "I want to hear from you." It was dated 1971, the same year Neruda won the Nobel Prize. Paz's magazine Plural published essays, articles, and stories about the Nobel laureate, always pointing out the dichotomy between Neruda the poet and Neruda the admirer of Stalin.

However, Paz never stopped admiring Neruda. In fact, when Sara Facio was photographing him at CambridgeUniversity for her book Foto de escritor 1963/1973, Paz quizzed her endlessly about his colleagues' habits and obsessions. The first writer he asked her about was Neruda. In his memoirs, Chilean novelist Jorge Edwards recounts a long telephone conversation he had with Paz, in the mid-1990s. Paz told him, "Last year, I reread the complete works of Neruda, from the first page to the last.... My conclusion is that Neruda is the greatest poet of his generation. By far! Better than Huidobro, better than Vallejo, better than Borges. And better than all the Spanish poets."

(To be continued)

FONTE: http://www.examiner.com/

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