Octavio Paz was a renowned Mexican poet, diplomat, writer, and all around impressive guy. In 1990 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. His writing dealt a lot with political matters, but his poetry worked along tight, succinct lines and his imagery displayed a sustained and vastly growing imagination. His works always occupied the gray area between poetry, prose poem and short fiction.
This week we’re talking about one of his shortest pieces of fiction, “The Blue Bouquet.” Way ahead of his time, Paz shows how flash fiction works on the poetic form to really capture our attention. Some questions to consider when reading:
- In this story, the speaker is very much the foreign outsider, or at least a “visitor” to this place. How does this add to the tone of the story? Does it make it more realistic? Or more surreal?
- Smack in the middle of this piece the speaker has a long moment of existential consideration before he encounters the man with the machete. What does this moment do for the rest of the piece?
- Since we’ve been working on writing horror flashes lately for the Apex Magazine: Steal the Spotlight Micro Fiction Contest, I thought this piece was oddly appropriate.
- Do you consider this horror? If so, what horror elements are here? If not, what’s missing?