As head of the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Germán Muñoz Díaz -- an erstwhile literary and cultural journalist -- has been active in coordinating Mexican cultural events in the city. Juan José Morales has lectured on Octavio Paz's translations of Chinese poetry at the University of Hong Kong. He has written for several Hong Kong, regional and European journals on culture and history and has co-authored two books. Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Germán Muñoz Díaz
Germán Muñoz is a lawyer and Mexican journalist who currently heads the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. While still very young and a student, Germán began to work at the Autonomous National University of Mexico as a journalist doing interviews to be published in the university Gazette. In this way, he met some of the best Mexican philosophers, historians and poets, such as Ruben Bonifaz Nuño, as well as others that came to Mexico as exiles, such as Ramón Xirau, the kindhearted Catalan genius, who became one of the best friends of Octavio Paz.
Octavio Paz marked his soul. Germán, like many others, succumbed to the spell of a poetry that is lost in the stars.
Using the passport that was his youth, Germán was allowed to sit dazzled at a dinner table next to the poet Xirau and such other leading lights as the painter Rufino Tamayo, the architect Teodoro Gonzalez de León and a woman who was all fire: Dolores Olmedo. And across from Germán sat the genius with hair of a gargoyle: Octavio Paz. We had attended the exhibition of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" in the museum opened in honor of the impenetrable Rufino Tamayo, the painter of Mexican watermelons... and Germán was happily lost... It was the evening of May 29, 1981.
Juan José Morales
Juan José Morales, former chairman of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, writes for several Hong Kong, regional and European journals on culture and history, especially East-West relations, and has co-authored two books. Juan has lectured on Octavio Paz's translations of Chinese poetry at the University of Hong Kong. His numerous reviews in The Asian Review of Books include The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine, The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre: Security, Trade and Society in 16th- and 17th-century Southeast Asia by Peter Borschberg (ed.) and Paintings of the China Trade: The Sze Yuan Tang Collection of Historic Paintings by Patrick Conner.
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born poet and editor. She is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and an editor of the academic journal, Victorian Network. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times and the Forward Prize. She is an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and she teaches poetry and poetics, fiction and modern drama.
Octavio Paz, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, was the premier Mexican writer, poet, diplomat and public intellectual. He was also a winner of the Premio Cervantes in 1981 (the most important award in the Spanish-speaking world) and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990.
Octavio Paz built bridges among cultures, and especially among poets, having translated poems from different languages, and established a fertile dialogue with other poets of his generation, regardless of their language. Moved by the wisdom and lyrical thrust of Chinese poetry, he translated Chuang-tzu (Zhuangzi) and some 60 poems mainly from Tang and Song dynasties. These are still considered the best translations of Chinese poems in the Spanish language, and among the best in any language. He served as ambassador to India, and wrote In Light of India, which is considered to be one of the most lucid books on this culture by local humanist Leo Lee Ou-fan.
Although Octavio Paz's poems may contain concealed allusions and references, from Aztec cosmology and calendar, to the Golden Age of Spanish literature, they can be enjoyed by anyone and read at many levels. In his universal spirit, we find echoes of Flaubert and Mallarmé and also subtle links with ancient Oriental thought and literary traditions. Not surprisingly, his dexterity in the dialectics of contradiction has a meeting point with Taoism and his beloved Chuang-tzu. For his readers, Octavio Paz's poetry is a liberating mirror that makes us return to the origins and allows us to find in "the other" that missing part of ourselves.
The editors hope this new collection will be a tribute not just to the poet himself, but also to his life of building bridges between peoples through the medium of words and thought.