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Instant Fellini

Tessa Hadley: Carlos Fuentes

12 February 2009
Happy Families 
by Carlos Fuentes, translated by Edith Grossman.
Bloomsbury, 332 pp., £17.99, October 2008, 978 0 7475 9528 1
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... mixed up in that, since being a writer has seemed also to entail being a public man: Fuentes and Octavio Paz have both had careers in diplomacy. The subject at the heart of the collection is the recent past of Mexico City (though some stories are set in the provinces): the scene, from the 1930s onwards, of a dynamic, shape-shifting, erotically charged ...

Little Lame Balloonman

August Kleinzahler: E.E. Cummings

8 October 2014
E.E. Cummings: The Complete Poems, 1904-62 
edited by George James Firmage.
Liveright, 1102 pp., £36, September 2013, 978 0 87140 710 8
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E.E. Cummings: A Life 
by Susan Cheever.
Pantheon, 209 pp., £16, February 2014, 978 0 307 37997 9
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... who sang his praises, but other, very different kinds of poet too: Robert Graves, Dylan Thomas, Octavio Paz, Louis Zukofsky and Charles Olson. As did any number of critics: Edmund Wilson, Harry Levin, Jacques Barzun, Lionel Trilling, Guy Davenport. Were all of them hornswoggled, taken in by the surface polish and acrobatics of Cummings’s style ...

Mostly Middle

Michael Hofmann: Elizabeth Bishop

8 September 2011
Poems 
by Elizabeth Bishop.
Chatto, 352 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 7011 8628 9
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... flimsy, just ten poems in large type, none of them long, and one a translation from the unctuous Octavio Paz. We readers of the Complete Poems looked at each other sagaciously, with a sort of masonic wink, knowing that ‘complete poems’ really meant ‘completed poems’, and thought of all the ones that weren’t, the ones that waited, according to ...

At Tranquilina’s Knee

G. Cabrera Infante

2 June 1983
The Fragrance of Guava: Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza in conversation with Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 126 pp., £9.95, May 1983, 0 86091 065 2
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... even if they aren’t true ...’ In the same Seven Voices a poet who has never written fiction, Octavio Paz, has this to say: ‘Garcia Marquez is an opportunist of the left, a man without ideas, tout court.’ At the Columbian ceremony the Colombian arrived wearing not the Panamanian uniform or the Cuban verde-olivo fatigues but the university ...

My Americas

Donald Davie

3 September 1981
... either ‘bourgeois’ or else ‘of the people’. How does it help us, or what is proved, when Octavio Paz and Machado de Assis are classed equally as ‘Latin American’? To this question there may be an answer, but, shuffle as we may the categories that Marxist socio-politics presents us with, the answer is not there. For the vulgar Marxist account ...
11 March 1993
Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It 
by Brett Millier.
California, 602 pp., £18.50, April 1993, 0 520 07978 7
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... liberal university’. Bishop had many devoted friends at Harvard (as Millier notes), ranging from Octavio Paz to William Alfred and Robert Fitzgerald, and in her writing courses found students whom she admired and liked, both male and female. She also found a new person to love, Alice Methfessel, the administrative assistant at Kirkland House (the ...

In the Sonora

Benjamin Kunkel: Roberto Bolaño

6 September 2007
The Savage Detectives 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 577 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 330 44514 6
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Last Evenings on Earth 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
Harvill, 277 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 84343 181 7
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Amulet 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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...  ...

It is very easy to die here

Rachel Nolan: Who killed the 43?

4 April 2019
A Massacre in Mexico: The True Story behind the Missing 43 Students 
by Anabel Hernández, translated by John Washington.
Verso, 416 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 1 78873 148 5
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I Couldn’t Even Imagine that They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks against the Students of Ayotzinapa 
by John Gibler.
City Lights, 264 pp., £12.99, December 2017, 978 0 87286 748 2
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... 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, a collage of oral histories, photographs, protest chants and poems by Octavio Paz and Rosario Castellanos that gave the lie to the government’s version of events. The book was called La Noche de Tlatelolco in Spanish and Massacre in Mexico in English. (Hernández’s book is called La Verdadera Noche de Iguala in ...

Save the feet for later

Edmund Gordon: Leonora Carrington

2 November 2017
The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington 
by Joanna Moorhead.
Virago, 304 pp., £20, April 2017, 978 0 349 00877 6
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‘The Debutante’ and Other Stories 
by Leonora Carrington.
Silver Press, 153 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 0 9957162 0 9
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Down Below 
by Leonora Carrington.
NYRB, 69 pp., £8.99, May 2017, 978 1 68137 060 6
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Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-Garde 
edited by Jonathan Eburne and Catriona McAra.
Manchester, 275 pp., £75, January 2017, 978 1 78499 436 5
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... Gallery in Chichester in 2010). They also formed the theatrical group Poesía en Voz Alta with Octavio Paz and the painter Juan Soriano. ‘Remedios’s presence in Mexico changed my life,’ Carrington said in 1983, and it’s easy to see why: theirs was a real artistic collaboration, and she didn’t have to be anyone’s muse. It was through Varo ...
4 June 1981
... been cryptically critical and nothing ever happened to him. He still lives in Chile. In Mexico, Octavio Paz, a strong voice for strong words, had resigned as ambassador to India as a gesture against the Tlatelolco Square massacre ordered by his President, but it was his own conscience that forced him to quit. He has always lived in ...

Don’t abandon me

Colm Tóibín: Borges and the Maids

11 May 2006
Borges: A Life 
by Edwin Williamson.
Penguin, 416 pp., £9.99, August 2005, 0 14 024657 6
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... to keep at bay the many women who wished to sleep with Bioy, including at times Elena, the wife of Octavio Paz, who had a long affair with him. Elena, Jovina writes, decided one day, because she was going to Paris with her daughter, to send her eight cats from Mexico to Argentina by plane to be minded by the Bioys. Jovina’s husband went to the airport ...

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