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Octavio Paz Quotes


Octavio Paz
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Octavio Paz Lozano
  • Born: 31st March 1914, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Died: 19th April 1998, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Alma mater: University of California at Berkeley
  • Occupation: Poet and diplomat
  • Notable awards: Miguel de Cervantes Prize (1981), Neustadt International Prize for Literature (1982), Nobel Prize for Literature (1990)
  • Government service: Paz served as the Mexican ambassador to India from 1962 until 1968 when he resigned in protest at the Mexican governments handling of student protests
  • Trivia: He founded and contributed content to several magazines including Plural, Taller and Vuelta
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Whoever builds a house for future happiness builds a prison for the present"

Octavio Paz

"There can be no society without poetry, but society can never be realized as poetry, it is never poetic. Sometimes the two terms seek to break apart. They cannot"

Octavio Paz

"To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears"

Octavio Paz

"Man does not speak because he thinks; he thinks because he speaks"

Octavio Paz

"A writer is not only a fashioner of fiction but a critic of society"

Octavio Paz

"All is visible and all elusive, all is near and can't be touched"

Octavio Paz

"I too await the coming of my hour, I too exist. No. I quit"

Octavio Paz

"A civilization that denies death ends by denying life"

Octavio Paz

"Deserve your dream"

Octavio Paz

"The search for the present is neither the pursuit of an earthly paradise nor that of a timeless eternity: it is the search for a real reality"

Octavio Paz

"The world changes if two can look at each other and see"

Octavio Paz

"Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone"

Octavio Paz

"Each time we try to express ourselves we have to break with ourselves"

Octavio Paz

"The purpose of poetry is to restore to mankind the possibility to wonder"

Octavio Paz

"What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism"

Octavio Paz

"Revolution is both planned and spontaneous, a science and an art"

Octavio Paz

"I want to be, after the Nobel Prize, a poet and a critic"

Octavio Paz

"Solitude is the profoundest fact"

Octavio Paz

"We are condemned to kill time, thus we die bit by bit"

Octavio Paz

"To fight evil is to fight ourselves"

Octavio Paz

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Octavio Paz Biography

Octavio Paz is revered as one of the great Latin American writers of the twentieth century whose poetic journey into the Mexican persona won admirers across the globe and opened doors for him to indulge his art for writing on a more international sphere.

The insightful cultural glimpses were not just limited to his Mexican homeland as he travelled far and wide with the governments diplomatic service which saw him hold posts in France and India.



In 1937 Paz was invited to the Second International Writers Congress in Defense of Culture held in Spain during the height of the civil war. Whilst warming to the Republican side of the Spanish civil war there is no evidence to suggest he actually joined the armed struggle and put some of the Franco fascists to the sword, although I'm sure he did poetically.

Paz was a prolific writer throughout his life and penned many books consisting of both prose and poems. For many years he held the thought and culture of the Hispanic world and was eventually rewarded with the 1990 Nobel Prize for literature.

We expect great words with hidden meaning to come from the pen and the lips of great writers and Paz did not disappoint as he was also good for many wise one liners. So this is my compilation of 20 of the best Octavio Paz quotes

Quotes About Octavio Paz

The novelist Carlos Fuentes once described him as the: "greatest living Mexican writer, great renovator of the Spanish language, great universal poet and essayist"

The critic Ramón Xirau gave this thoughtful assessment: "The poetry of Octavio Paz, does not hesitate between language and silence; it leads into the realm of silence where true language lives"

The Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo was moved to say at his passing: "This is an irreplaceable loss for contemporary thought and culture - not just for Latin America but for the entire world"


Octavio Paz image quote