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Pat Mora

In her poetry, short stories, and essays, Pat Mora portrays the cultural diversity and visual beauty of the Southwest and the harmony that can exist between nature and human beings.

Mora has spent most of her life in El Paso, Texas, where she was born. (Her four grandparents had migrated from Mexico to El Paso to escape a revolution early in this century.) She has said that when she was young, she spoke Spanish at home with her grandmother and aunt but didn't always want her school friends to know that she spoke Spanish. After receiving a master's degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, Mora pursued a career in teaching. She also for a time hosted a public-radio show called Voices: The Mexican-American in Perspective.

In 1986, Mora received a Kellogg National Fellowship to study ways of preserving cultures. She explains, "I am interested in how we save languages and traditions. What we have inside of our homes and our families is a treasure chest that we don't pay attention to." She urges young people to preserve their heritage by tape-recording their family's stories and finding out about the cultural treasures in their homes.