Saturday, 5 May 2012

Gulf of Tehuantepec

Is a large body of water on the Pacific coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec of southeastern Mexico. Lowry mentions the Gulf of Tehuantepec (Lowry spells as Tehantapec) in his short story 'In Le Havre'. This is one of the first mentions of Mexico in Lowry’s work.

Lowry in the poem “Letter From Oaxaca to North Africa 1936” says “the giraffe has a long neck, and too much longitude, by all Tehuantepec” which alludes to Wallace Stevens’s poem “Sea Surface Full Of Clouds” in which each section begins “In that November off Tehuantepec. Steven’s poem is set in November 1923 off the coast of Tehuantepec and based on a trip he made with his wife through the Panama Canal. Lowry made a similar journey in the 1950’s with his second wife Margerie. (See “Through The Panama” entry for 22nd November). Lowry also mentions the gulf in the poem “Peter Gaunt And The Canals” – “Or Caribees to Tehuantepec” which echoes O’Neill’s The Moon of the Caribbees.

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