by Pat Mora

ISBN: 978-0-93477-024-8
Publication Date: 1994
Bind: Trade Paperback
Pages: 64

Winner, 1985 Southwest Book Award, and Winner, El Paso Times’ Best Book of Poetry.


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El Paso, the pass to the north, lies between vast stretches of desert. This is a geographic accident. Yet like everywhere, people live, love, marry, grow old and die. They also rejoice and despair. These poems relate all these experiences – but in the magical presence, the telluric force, of the desert. Two women poets sing here, one in the guise of the desert, the other in the figure of Pat Mora. Together they intone Chants.

The desert’s beauty is perceived in subtle gradations of color and texture, in stark contrasts between light and darkness. It speaks as a magical force, as a lonely woman and, for our patience, offers flowers. Like the desert, Pat Mora speaks with muted tones, weaves incantations; she invests her poetic space with magical figures, yet from her loneliness come as well fear, resentment and despair. But she learns the peaceful solitude of the desert. From their dialogue, words become blossoms, fragile in desert rhythms.