Ode to Guacamole
A guacamaya mashes the chartreuse
Colorado composer David E. Bell converted nine of the poems to songs for contralto, flute, viola, and harp. Listen to "Ode to Tea."
Wine-sipping syllables, a communion of bones, impetuous pinches of chile, and parrot-sassy guacamole. With a mélange of aromas and tastes, colors and sounds, award-winning poet Pat Mora invites readers into her home in this new collection of forty-nine odes. Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Odas Elemantales and reinvented with a Latina identity, Mora celebrates the ordinary in lyrics that are anything but. Her poetry is the poetry of space—house patterns and adobe constructions—and the human rhythms that happen inside. It is also the poetry of what she loves—chocolate, books, dandelions, church bells, hope, courage, and even rain. Thick with the microcultures of foodstuffs, family, places, regions, deities, spirits, and literary figures, Mora’s adobe universe is luscious and tactile, elemental and dynamic. From family gossip and beauty secrets, to women darning hand-me-downs, to reluctant hands carrying bodies across borders, Mora traverses the tangled threads of culture, community, family, gender, and injustice. Her vivid observations together with her deft handling of symmetry and meter make her poetry uniquely insightful, subtle, and elegant. Sprinkled with Spanish and plenty of spice, each ode is a sensory flurry of mind and body. Together they make a cauldron of flavorful, simmering language. They are meant to be savored as they slowly stir the soul.
"Mora's radiance and exuberance are simply enchanting."—North American Review
"Pat Mora's latest collection, Adobe Odes, published by the University of Arizona Press, turns its back on hopelessness and finds a way to delight in our everyday world of food, literature, nature, religion and, yes, people...Unafraid to mix English and Spanish, Mora, who was born and raised on the U.S.-Mexico border, celebrates everything under the sun--or at least everything that's worth celebrating."—Tucson Weekly
"Mora's odes do some of the best work of poetry—they are sure to inspire other poets to try a hand at this combination of observation and praise."—The New Mexican Magazine
"Mora weaves a gentle tapestry of poetry that reminds readers to stop rushing and embrace the wonder surrounding them...Beauty within the pieces makes this collection a fabulous find for school and public libraries. It also makes the book a must-have for libraries that serve Latino communities."—Voice of Youth Advocates
"The beauty of these works is their simplicity and casualness, as tributes pay homage to everything from obvious choices that inspire the Latina heart, such as St. Francis of Assisi and Sor Juana, to much overlooked reasons to be thankful, like guacamole and toes. Even her current and former home towns get their tributes...Mora’s cozy words feel like a warm hug for the reader and make this a recommended choice for those who love poetry, and even those who normally wouldn't."—El Paso Scene
"Mora's feat is in refreshing the ordinary, much like the ‘Miner of Jeweled Consonants’ (i.e. Neruda) did in his Odas Elementales. Mora's project, however, leans toward the nurturing and the maternal, as evidenced by the odes to ancianas (the ‘black inextinguishable candles’), to hope and courage, and to women, ‘the world's stubborn, triumphant hum.’ Adobe Odes is a song to the everyday knowledge of the borderlands. And to those new to the territory, Mora offers lessons in biology, tradition, history, and even in cooking."—El Paso Times
"Pat Mora’s latest collection of poems invites her readers to slow down, turn inward and appreciate the beauty in simplicity. The award-winning Latina poet’s sixth book of poetry for adults is an exercise in giving thanks...If your life has become so frantic and busy that all you can focus on is what task you can check off today’s list, then Mora’s odes may be just the medicine for what ails you...The spaces between her words are as enticing as what she chooses to put on the page. The odes breathe and allow the reader to reflect without competition. Give this collection as a gift to someone special or savor it yourself."—La Herencia