We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Octavio Paz

Proem Theme of Art and Culture

What can we say? Paz is a cultured guy. Way cultured, in fact. We're talkin' more cultured than Yoplait! And a poem about poetry is definitely going to have themes of art and culture popping up all over the place. "Proem" mentions poetry, like we said, but also music and philosophy.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. What is the effect of putting an ancient Greek and an ancient Texcoco philosopher together in the same line in the poem?
  2. Why do you think that, in a poem about poetry, Paz chose to add a little flute solo in the middle?
  3. What evidence does the poetic speaker give for poetry being extra special as an art form?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Calling ancient Greece! Come in, ancient Greece. Paz attempts to insert his poem into the long tradition of Western culture with references to ancient Greece.

Paz reminds us that poetry is not only a Western art form, but also an indigenous American one by mentioning Netzahualcoyotl. Paz keeps it real, yo.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...