Over three decades ago, the author of The Philanthropic Ogre indicated that writers cannot shirk politics: “that would be worse than spitting into the wind: it would be spitting on ourselves.” In this issue, Literal marks the thirtieth anniversary next December of one of Octavio Paz’s most significant intellectual enterprises: Vuelta magazine. In commemoration, we are publishing two articles- written by Maarten van Delden and Yvon Grenier-regarding something Paz the polemicist never underestimated: the conflictive proximity of politics and literature.
Another anniversary also concerns us. Ten years ago, the controversial literary phenomenon known as the “Crack” emerged. Our interview with Jorge Volpi includes his assessment, as well as some opinions regarding recent events in Mexico. Likewise, Carlos Monsiváis is a writer whose presence and work are vital to understanding the intricate loom of our time. Recently awarded with the FIL 2006 (formerly Juan Rulfo) Prize, Monsiváis is featured in the animated portrait drawn in these pages by Adolfo Castañón. Moreover, Literal offers an excerpt from a book by Malva Flores-winner of the 2006 José Revueltas National Essay Prize – whose title couldn’t be more suggestive: The Twilight of the Intellectual Poet. Poetry and Politics.