Redux: Great Blinding Flashes



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

Photos courtesy of Killarnee, Wikimedia Commons

It’s the very first week of 2022, so you can probably guess the theme of this Redux. Whether you spent New Year’s Eve setting off fireworks or having a road to Damascus moment, we hope you gave 2021 a good kick in the shins. Unlocked for you to read in these first days of the year: our interview with Octavio Paz, an excerpt from Rachel Cusk’s Transit, a poem by Catherine Davis, and party snapshots by Andy Warhol.

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, poems, and portfolios, why not subscribe to The Paris Review? You’ll get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.

Octavio Paz, The Art of Poetry No. 42
Issue no. 119 (Summer 1991)

I am very fond of fireworks. They were a part of my childhood. There was a part of the town where the artisans were all masters of the great art of fireworks. They were famous all over Mexico. To celebrate the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, other religious festivals, and at New Year’s, they made the fireworks for the town. I remember how they made the church façade look like a fiery waterfall. It was marvelous. Mixoac was alive with a kind of life that doesn’t exist anymore in big cities.

Photos courtesy of Killarnee, Wikimedia Commons

By Rachel Cusk
Issue no. 217 (Summer 2016)

“What’s it called,” Dale said, “when you have one of those bloody great blinding flashes of insight that changes the way you look at things?”

I said I wasn’t sure: a few different words sprang to mind.

Dale twitched his paintbrush irritably.

“It’s something to do with a road,” he said.

Road to Damascus, I said.

“I had a road to Damascus moment,” he said. “Last New Year’s Eve, of all times. I bloody hate New Year’s. That was part of it, realizing that I bloody hated New Year’s Eve.”

Photos courtesy of Killarnee, Wikimedia Commons

The New Year’s Burden
By Catherine Davis
Issue no. 21 (Spring-Summer 1959)

I will not, though I would, resolve,
As the New Year’s Eve comes on,
To do, not do, review, revolve
On the past year, how it has gone,
Taking not all, but still enough
(Seeing I had not much to lose)
Of what, for all my falling off,
Might have been mine, as then, to use:
But if I cast off heaviness,
This is my burden, none the less.

Photos courtesy of Killarnee, Wikimedia Commons

A Warhol Portrait Gallery
By Andy Warhol
Issue no. 94 (Winter 1984)

A while back, Andy Warhol’s camera replaced his everpresent tape recorder. It was probably around the time he was going to nightclubs like Studio 54 every night; he couldn’t have a conversation, let alone tape one, over all that music.

If you enjoyed the above, don’t forget to subscribe! In addition to four print issues per year, you’ll also receive complete digital access to our sixty-eight years’ worth of archives.