Blanco.Mexico City: Joaquín Mortiz, 1967 Stock Code: 132640
NotesFirst and limited edition, number 405 of 579 copies, of one of Paz's major works, experimental in both form and content, which, when unfolded, "in a certain sense produces text by transforming the space itself into a text" (Sanchez). It was composed while Paz was serving in India as Mexican ambassador; his time there is important in relation to his entire concept of the piece: "The physical presentation of the poem reinforces the Oriental concept of fusion of fragments or opposites both philosophically and graphically, in endless succession (not impeded by punctuation), as in the theory of reincarnation' (Kushigian, pp. 98-99). At the opening of the poem Paz includes a quote from the Buddhist Hevajra Tantra. "'Blanco' has been described as "an intensely erotic poem, as the Tantric Buddhist epigraph (together with one from Mallarmé) suggests. In it the outside world is reduced to the figure of a poet in a room listening to music playing and the sounds of a woman close by him: the act of writing and the act of love-making become one and the same" (Caistor).
"'Blanco' is an intricately designed poem that embodies many postmodern traits, with its typography emphasizing the poem's visual aspects. The poem begins with the words spread out in three columns across the page. The text then forms a column that proceeds down the page, with the occasional staggering of lines. The single column then splits into a bold font on the left accompanied by an italicized font on the right. As the poem progresses, this pattern repeats four times, with the bold and italicized verses gradually drifting toward, and ultimately pressing against, one another" (Waring, p. 27). The 'aviso al lector' explains the conception of the book as a presentation of 'el movimiento de la realidad'. A second edition in this format was issued in 1972; of this first only two copies are cited by Library Hub among British and Irish and institutional libraries (Cambridge, Oxford); WorldCat adds around ninety copies worldwide, a generous portion of the print run of 579 copies. In commerce "Blanco" is decidedly uncommon.
Square octavo. Original leporello binding, white cloth spine lettered in black, covers with yellow hollow square motif superimposed on a black background (front) and white background (back), perhaps representing the hollow square of the Tibetan Buddhist mandala. With the original slipcase.
Letterpress printed in red and black on a single sheet folded concertina-style, unfolding to 5 metres.
Small private stamp ("VHL") to slipcase, title and half-title. Peripheral toning to slipcase, which has short splits to head, spine of leporello lightly toned, same to back cover, light abrading to front cover. A very good copy with the original "aviso al lector" loosely inserted.
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