Eagle Or Sun?
by Octavio Paz
Translated from the Spanish by Eliot Weinberger
Edited by Eliot Weinberger
The first major book of short prose poetry in Spanish, Eagle or Sun? (Aguila o Sol?) exerted an enormous influence on modern Latin American writing. Written in 1949-50 by Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, Eagle or Sun? has as its mythopoeic “place” Mexico––a country caught up in its pre-Columbian past, the world of modern imperialism, and an apocalyptic future foretold by the Aztec calendar. Indeed, three personae of the book–the goddess Itzapaplotl, the prophet clerk, the poet––are manifestations of the threefold aspects of the land. Paz himself explains: “Eagle or Sun? is an exploration of Mexico, yes, but at the same time, and above all, it is an exploration of the relations between language and the poet, reality and language, the poet and history.”