From March 1960 to January 1964, PK lived in Mexico where her husband, Arthur Irwin, was the Canadian ambassador. Throughout these years she kept a journal, which covers time spent in New York in late 1960, the drive back to Mexico through the United States in early 1961 and accounts of various trips, particularly to Guatemala where Irwin also served as Ambassador from October 1961 to the end of his time in Mexico.
The journal was worked up from preliminary notes, some of which have survived. It consists of 378 typed and handwritten pages divided into two volumes. On the inside cover of Volume II, PK wrote “Notes on crested paper are personal, whether typed or written.” The crest referred to is the Canadian Embassy crest. Volume II thus divides itself into two narratives: the official journal, recounting diplomatic affairs and travel, and the personal journal.
Unlike the journal which PK kept in Brazil until the very end of her time there, the Mexican journal peters out about the time she shifted her attention to her Sufi studies. These studies are reflected in extensive notes which we have included in the non-fiction section of The Digital Page.
The Mexican journal material was largely unpublished during Page’s lifetime. Two short essays did appear in 1994: “Malinalco, Mexico” in Canadian Literature and “Settling In” in Writing Away: The PEN Canada Travel Anthology.
The Porcupine’s Quill print version of Mexican Journal is substantially abridged. In particular, very extensive verbatim passages from travel guides and from other texts have been elided, as have the scattered pages following PK’s account of her discovery of Sufism. The Digital Page will incorporate the whole of the manuscript. It will also trace the genesis of the text, whenever possible, from the preliminary notes which have survived.