Books: Saving Soul


by OCTAVIO PAZ 215 pages. Viking. $7.95.

The more flamboyant political leaders of Latin America-the Fidel Castros, the Che Guevaras-are familiar to the point of cartoonist's cliches. But what does the ordinary North American citizen and/or reader know of Latin American cultural leaders? For instance: Octavio Paz, Mexico's foremost poet and essayist-hardly a North American household name.

Paz, 58, is not an apolitical man.

Like other modern poets (the Frenchman St.-John Perse, the Greek George Seferis), he has made a career as a professional diplomat. He was Mexico's Ambassador to India when...

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