Octavio Paz (1914–1998) was a world-famous poet, writer and essayist. His writing, which garnered him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, has been characterized as impassioned and marked with sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity.
A two-hour symposium, "A Tribute to Octavio Paz," will be held on Friday, May 23, from 5–7 p.m.
in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C.
Sponsored by the Library’s Hispanic Division and the Poetry Office, in cooperation with the Mexican Cultural Institute of Washington, D.C., the symposium is free and open to the public. No reservations are required.
Featured speakers include distinguished writers and scholars Enrico Mario Santí of the University of Kentucky, Yvon Grenier of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and Consuelo Hernández of American University.
Santí will provide an overview of the various stages and characteristics of Paz’s unique literary style. Santí holds the William P. Bryan Endowed Chair in Hispanic Studies at the University of Kentucky. He has taught previously at Cornell and Georgetown universities and the University of Miami, where he held the Emilio Bacardi Chair in Cuban Studies. He is the author of many books on literary criticism focusing on Latin-American literature. His research has been supported over the years by fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Grenier will discuss Paz’s vision of politics and literature, the close relationship between modern intellectuals or "hommes de lettres" and political liberalism. Grenier is professor and chair of political science at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. He has written several books on Paz, including “From Art to Politics: Octavio Paz and the Pursuit of Freedom” and its Spanish translation. Grenier edited and wrote the introduction to “Octavio Paz, Sueño en libertad, escritos politicos” and was awarded the essay prize from the Octavio Paz Foundation.
Hernández will present a talk about nature and the universe in Paz’s poetry and his vision of language. She is a Colombian poet, literary critic and professor of Latin-American Studies at American University. She has written more than 40 works on Latin-American poetry, including two essays on Paz. Her poetic works have been included in numerous anthologies in Latin America, Spain, Canada and the United States.
Preceding the symposium, at 4 p.m., will be a reading of Paz’s poetry in the Mumford Room.