- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“Beyond myself, somewhere, I wait for my arrival.”

Happy birthday, Octavio Paz! Here are some quotes from his writing.

“Art is the opposite of dissipation, in the physical and spiritual sense of the word: it is concentration, desire that seeks incarnation.”

“To live is also to think, and sometimes to cross that border beyond which feeling and thinking become one: poetry.”

“Every text is unique and, at the same time, it is the translation of another text. No text is entirely original because language itself, in its essence, is already a translation: firstly, of the non-verbal world and secondly, since every sign and every phrase is the translation of another sign and another phrase. However, this argument can be turned around without losing any of its validity: all texts are original because every translation is distinctive. Every translation, up to a certain point, is an invention and as such it constitutes a unique text.”

“When a society decays, it is language that is first to become gangrenous. As a result, social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings.”

“Bodies are visible hieroglyphs. Every body is an erotic metaphor, and the meaning of all these metaphors is always the same: death.”

“I thought that the world was a vast system of signs, a conversation between giant beings. My actions, the cricket’s saw, the star’s blink, were nothing but pauses and syllables, scattered phrases from that dialogue. What word could it be, of which I was only a syllable? Who speaks the word? To whom is it spoken?”

“Love is the revelation of the other person’s freedom.”

“When we learn to speak, we learn to translate.”

“To love is to undress our names.”

“To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears.”

“Modern [people] like to pretend that [their] thinking is wide-awake. But this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason.”

“To fight evil is to fight ourselves.”

“Deserve your dream.”

“At times poetry is the vertigo of bodies and the vertigo of speech and the vertigo of death;
the walk with eyes closed along the edge of the cliff, and the verbena in submarine gardens;
the laughter that sets on fire the rules and the holy commandments;
the descent of parachuting words onto the sands of the page;
the despair that boards a paper boat and crosses,
for forty nights and forty days, the night-sorrow sea and the day-sorrow desert;
the idolatry of the self and the desecration of the self and the dissipation of the self;
the beheading of epithets, the burial of mirrors;
the recollection of pronouns freshly cut in the garden of Epicurus, and the garden of Netzahualcoyotl;
the flute solo on the terrace of memory and the dance of flames in the cave of thought;
the migrations of millions of verbs, wings and claws, seeds and hands;
the nouns, bony and full of roots, planted on the waves of language;
the love unseen and the love unheard and the love unsaid: the love in love.”

from A Tree Within

 

“Beyond myself, somewhere, I wait for my arrival.”

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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