Pat Mora’s love for words spreads a river of literacy


EL PASO, Texas — Award-winning writer Pat Mora is a jack-of-all-trades. She writes poetry, books for adult readers, inspirational books for children and young adults and is a dedicated advocate for reading and literacy.

Open any of her works and you are taken on a journey that flows like water, bringing freshness to a reader’s mind. Her works are important to the border community. They paint a picture of the region’s Hispanic culture for those who are not familiar with the border. Mora is a pioneer in Chicano Literature and her numerous awards and fellowships are testament to her talent.

Pat Mora signs books at The University of Texas at El Paso (Julie L. Ortiz/

Pat Mora signs books at The University of Texas at El Paso (Julie L. Ortiz/

A perfect example is her short poem entitled Unrefined. “The desert is no lady. / She screams at the spring sky, / dances with her skirts high, / kicks sand, flings tumbleweeds, / digs her nails into all flesh. / Her unveiled lust fascinates the sun.”

Mora’s work reflects her homegrown El Paso roots and the Hispanic culture that infuses the U.S. Mexico border region. Now a resident of Santa Fe, N. M., she is a former teacher and administrator and an alumnus of Texas Western College and the University of Texas at El Paso.

The pieces she chooses to read on tour reflect her emotions, her heritage, and her love of words. Mora chose to come back to her alma mater, the University of Texas at El Paso in September to promote her body of work and to spread her idea of “Bookjoy” — what she says readers feel when they read. She hopes she can inspire everyone to enjoy reading and writing.

In an excerpt from Adobe Odes, she reads about her uncle not being able to afford college. She explains to her audiences that many people are in similar situations. Her goal is to illuminate her readers to the power of reading — that reading is just as powerful as paying for a formal education.

“I need to be alone when I write,” Mora said. Most of her work comes to mind through periods of solitude frequently in the vast deserts of the southwest.  That environment is important to her art, almost always a catalyst for some of her work, mostly her poetry, but she says that she can gain inspiration from anything, or anyone.

Not only is she an inspiration to adults, but Mora’s children’s works have garnered many adolescent fans. Children excitedly line up to have their books autographed by the author on her book tours. One of her popular works is Dizzy in Your Eyes: Love Poems a series of poems meant to inspire teenagers in a positive light.

Mora is currently on a book tour promoting her latest work Zing: Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students. Mora hopes that teachers and students can implement this work in the classroom. It is a guidebook that encourages creativity through Mora’s own creative experiences. She wants to share her creativity with others to inspire them to write.

Along with promoting her writing, she is also a national advocate for reading and literacy for children of all ages, adults, and aspiring teachers. She established April 30 as “El día del los niños, el día de los libros” (Children’s Day, Book Day), in which children and literacy are celebrated. April 30, 2011 marks the 15th anniversary for this event.

All her works are available through her website

2 thoughts on “Pat Mora’s love for words spreads a river of literacy

  1. Reading alone can definitely be just as powerful, or even more empowering, than getting a formal education. The world’s corpus of knowledge and culture is encompassed in books, and the only way to access their contents is by reading. Literacy should be the most important skill a child learns!

  2. i think the poems in Dizzy in your Head are very good they are so well written and i love them, but im not a fan of poetry so i noticed that i onky love, love poems

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