Pat Mora: Mexican American poet/author

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Pat Mora and Her Achievements

Pat Mora is a Mexican American poet and author who mainly focus on contemporary Hispanic poetry. Her primary topics and themes mainly concentrate on Latin people, and she discovers the cultural stiffness that is in the lives of Mexican Americans (Pat Mora). Her work is motivated by her history as she was born in El Paso Texas and she understands the differences in cultural beliefs between Americans and Mexican Americans or other culturally diverse groups, and thus she understood the struggles that these groups encounter while trying to fit in. She has written poems about living in harmony and embracing love which is present in her books Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love and My Own True Name: New and Selected Poems for Young Readers who are among her most recent works.  Her motivation is stipulated by the fact that she was born in Texas and she lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Mora). Pat Mora understands how people with diverse background act and react and thus tries to use poetry to communicate to them.

Pat Mora grew up in a bilingual home with the ability to speak and write both English and Spanish. Mora possesses a Mexican American culture, and thus she can relate to both diverse groups of origin. She uses the Mexican-American culture themes in her books and poetry since most of her work is attributed to the place where she grew up. Pat Mora embraces the Mexican culture of celebrating children, and this motivates her work and the need to write children’s books (Rowlands). This has driven her to embrace the celebration of children through an event referred to as Dia which is meant to promote issues of head start programs and health services to families.

One of her most recommendable achievement to the general public is her literacy initiative of Children’s Day/ Book Day which is also referred to as Dia (Rowlands). Pat Mora is concerned about the literacy of children and thus came up with an initiative to teach children and to advocate for children to receive an education (Rowlands). Her works as an author are mainly centered on the books of children as she tries to get a wider readership as this Children’s Day is celebrated over the United States on April 30 each year by participating schools, libraries, universities, community organizations, and museums (Rowlands). These celebrations usually help children with books and other learning materials. This celebration is meant to honor children and childhood, promote literacy and outline the essence of linking children to books, cultures, and languages, honor home languages and cultures while in turn promoting multilingual and bilingual literacy, and involve parents in the literacy team. Her works have played a huge role in ensuring that she manages to carry out such an initiative since people read and understand her writings and thus understand what she means to achieve through this initiative.

Pat Mora is an advocate for the Hispanic community, and her works are mainly bilingual, and thus she will be remembered as a poet who advocated for cultural diversity and the need to embrace different cultures without marginalizing certain people due to their cultural backgrounds. She is a Mexican-American writer, and thus most of her poems are shaped in a way that promotes both Americans and Mexicans and advocates for the need to treat each and every community with respect regardless of their originality or cultural beliefs. She uses poetry to talk about society, and her work thus falls into a distinct category which advocates for equity and equality while fighting against discrimination. She uses her roots to show the essence of living together and embracing cultural diversity through her poems.

Her works differ from other genres of poetry in that she tries to outline the beauty of being bilingual and bicultural by outlining the importance of these aspects. She does outline love poems like modern poetry which uses direct words, but she rather leads people through her works and lets them decide what they want to do. She tries to use poetry to fight for the people and yet she does not make them feel marginalized, rather she makes them feel empowered about their diversities. Her work stands out in that she outlines the good in diversity and fails to keep mentioning the bad. Her work is meant to be appreciative, her poem, ‘Ode to Teachers’ is written in a way that one may confuse it for a poem to a lover, while her poem, ‘legal alien’ clearly outlines the beauty of diversity and being bilingual (Mora, Legal Alien). She uses a unique presentation of her ideas whereby she clearly crafts words to send out a message without hurting the feelings of other people.

Her works show the essence of creativity and originality in the work of poetry and art. Her poems are pieces of art, and she delivers her supposed intentions by playing with words. She successfully manages to advocate for the need for diversity, a bilingual or a multilingual world. Her style of writing is unique and serves to advocate for a better life for people without having to state the awful conditions that people may be encountering. This drives people to understand the need to come up with an easy way to write and achieve the desired goal. She uses a simple and understandable language and thus shows the essence of simplicity in a work of poetry in a bid to get results. She outlines the need to be unique, original, and creativity since these traits are what makes her work stand out.

Ode to Teachers

The poem ‘ode to teachers’ is an appreciative poem meant to show appreciation and gratitude to teachers for the numerous work they have done and how they have directly or indirectly influenced the lives of many people. The poem is meant to outline the life of a teacher and how most of their deeds impact on the life of a student. Pat Mora states that the teacher encourages students to ask a question and air their thoughts (Mora, Ode to Teachers). It aims to show the doubts and disbeliefs that exist among students and how the teachers ultimately manage to quench their need for education.

The poem states that the teacher needs to hear ‘neon certainties, thorny doubts, tangled anger.’ These words are used figuratively to expound on the overall meaning of this sentence since when used together they bring out the message that the students sometimes feel like they know something, while at other times they are doubtful of what the teacher is teaching, or they get lost in the course of the learning process and thus end up frustrated. The use of these words is meant to show how the teachers do a lot of work and how the students make it hard at times. The poet mentions neon certainties which are meant to imply that the students are convinced that what they are saying is true. The terms thorny doubts are meant to show that the students doubt what they are told and that the constant doubts can be frustrating to the teachers. Finally, the terms tangled anger means to outline how learning can be confusing and may end up frustrating the students when they fail to understand what they are being taught.

The poem uses figurative language with the use of numerous phrases which are meant to support the theme of the poem: One phrase emphasizes on the need to listen to thorny doubts, this is a figurative speech because doubts cannot actually be thorny. However, it intends to imply that they can be hurting and discouraging and thus it is used in the poems to outline how the teachers feel when the students are constantly doubting them and doubting what they are taught. The poet also states that ‘we need your stories and questions… that will take us to new vistas’ (Mora, Ode to Teachers). This is figurative language since questions and stories cannot literally take people and also the author does not literally mean vistas but uses this figure of speech to outline how education can create new paths and define the success of a person. The poet intends to show the essence of education and how it may ultimately shape the future of the people who pursue it. The poet also states that ‘your faith grew into my courage’ which figuratively aims to mean that the faith the teacher had on the student helped the student develop more and be more confidence. The use of the term grew intended to show the essence of the faith that teachers have on their students and how it can ultimately make them better. The use of figurative language is meant to show the weight of the teachers and their actions and how it can ultimately impact on the lives of students.

This poem uses imagery in a bid to emphasize on the main topic of the poem. The poet creates a mental image of how the impact of a teacher benefits a student by comparing it to the softness of sunrise and thus developing a mental picture of how the softness of the sunrise can be perceived. This gives the readers a welcoming and appreciative view of the softness of the sunrise. The poet means to engage the readers and show them the impact of education and how teachers who fully deliver this manage to make their students feel.

The poet further enacts the use of imagery by relating the success of good learning and the impact of the teacher to how she carries her smile or the laugh of her sister or the face of her dog. This creates numerous images about how the poet feels and how a teacher manages to influence these feelings and reactions. The use of these imageries makes it easier to relate to the feelings that the poet intends to outline. The poet intends to outline how the teacher feels when he or she successfully impact the life of a student and thus uses the mental picture to create these feelings.

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The poet manages to create the picture of a chilly day and the feeling that one acquires when she is assured that she will have a sweater through the cold weather. The poet outlines how she feels due to the successes of teachers and relates this feeling to the feelings she possesses due to ‘the security of a sweater on a chilly day.’ This creates an image of a day which is chilly and how effective a sweater is. The poet intends to show the essence of teachers and how they can assure students of a bright future due to the knowledge and skills that they teach them.

This poem is short, and it uses punctuation marks to outline the main messages set forth by the poet. The poet uses speech marks to outline the words that teachers utter to students in a bid to involve or motivate them. The poem is small but carries a lot of weight, and thus the length is meant to ensure that the readers can clearly understand and relate without getting confused. The poem entails the use of pauses to strengthen the message for instance when the poet says, ‘I remember,’ she pauses and then continues the poem with the thoughts of the first. The pauses are effective in engaging the readers, catching their attention, and showing the extent of the statements. The structure effectively contributes to the poem in that it shows the essence of learning and outlines the need to listen and be attentive to details.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Mora, Pat. Legal Alien. 1985. 27 November 2017 <>.
  2. Ode to Teachers. 2010. 27 November 2017 <>.
  3.  “Poetry Foundation.” 2017. Pat Mora. 27 November 2017 <>.
  4. “Pat Mora.” 2017. Colorin Colorado. 27 November 2017 <>.
  5. Rowlands, Kathleen Dudden. “The Influence of Pat Mora: How-and Why-Literacy Becomes Political .” Children and Libraries (2007): 20-25.
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