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The poet in your pocket

26 March 2014

Despite Robert Graves’ quip (“There is no money in poetry, nor any poetry in money”), The Guardian seemed to be of the opinion that there is something new and different in honoring a Nobel Literature Prize laureate on their coinage.  Canada’s commemorative five dollar coin (not meant for general circulation) honoring Alice Monro is certainly not the first currency in the Americas to honor either a Nobel literature laureate, nor a woman writer.

Au contraire, as they say in some parts of Canada… Mexico had not just a portrait of a poet, but a line of poetry on its regularly circulating 20 peso coin 14 years ago:


The lines are from Paz’ 1950 poem, Fuente:

Todo es presencia, todos los siglos son este presente

(All is presence, all centuries are present)


As to women writers on currency (like Jane Austen on the new British 10 £ note), Mexico has been ahead of the curve for a very long time.

Sor Juana has graced Mexican banknotes since 1980, first on the old 1000 pesos bill, and after 1993 introduction of the new peso, on the 200 peso note.




One Comment leave one →
  1. Peter Melvoin permalink
    26 March 2014 9:02 am

    Do not forget Frida and Diego on the 500 Peso note.

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