“I WAS INTRODUCED to Octavio and Marie-José Paz in Cambridge in 1970 by my friend and fellow-poet Anthony Rudolf”: Richard Berengarten

Richard Berengarten

Richard Berengarten

Octavio Paz

Octavio Paz

Writing in The Fortnightly ReviewRichard Berengarten (aka Richard Burns), a Consulting Editor for Interlitq, and a contributor to Issue 9, Issue 12 and Issue 21 of Interlitq, reflects:

“I WAS INTRODUCED to Octavio and Marie-José Paz in Cambridge in 1970 by my friend and fellow-poet Anthony Rudolf. Tony and I had been undergraduates at Cambridge from 1961 to 1964. I have been grateful to him for that introduction ever since.

In 1970, Octavio was fifty-five years old and I was twenty-six. I was fascinated by him from the outset. I had never met a writer from the Spanish-speaking world before, let alone Mexico. I had studied English at Cambridge, and in the mid-to-late 1960s my poetic interests lay mainly in Italy and Greece. From 1964 to 1966 I had lived in Padua and Venice and, in 1967-78, in Thebes and Athens. In 1965, I translated poems by Cesare Pavese and Aldo Vianello, and in Venice I once half-met Ezra Pound. In Greece, I had been discovering the work of George Seferis, as well as other modern Greek poets, including Constantine Cavafy, Yannis Ritsos, Odysseus Elytis, and Nikos Gatsos; and since the 1967 coup d’état, I had been very much involved in the campaign to restore democracy to Greece. These interests and preoccupations gave me little direct context in which to place Octavio. Nor did I know his work. If there was any advantage in my ignorance, it was that I first met him as a man rather than as a writer.”

 

1 comment so far

  1. Jill on

    With Emir, I visited Octavio and Mari Jo in Cambridge in 1970 as well!


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