One of the most distinguished Hispanic writers working in the United States, Pat Mora is also an advocate working to advance cultural appreciation and literacy as well as conservation. An educator and speaker, Mora dedicates her writing to advance the recognition and preservation of Mexican-American culture. Her books for children, in particular, work to instill in young Latinos pride in their heritage. Characteristically, Mora's books are set in the southwestern United States, often in her birthplace of El Paso, Texas, and the surrounding desert. Celebrating the Mexican-American experience while also encouraging unity among all cultures, her written work for children includes picture books, biographies, concept books, and retellings of Mayan folktales. In titles such as and she shares Hispanic history, customs, and traditions with children of all cultures. As a poet, Mora has also compiled verse anthologies for both children and young adults and has edited or contributed to poetry collections for more general readers.
Pat Mora uses poetic techniques such as metaphor, tone and antithesis to show discomfort and frustration of fitting in and being accepted by both races. The readers is predicted to fathom that bi-cultural individuals don’t have it so easy fitting in and being accepted by both races even though they can speak both languages, both of their race still don’t accept them utterly. That leaves them having an identity crisis thus being called a “legal alien”, a person who belongs however is not entirely acknowledged by the community.
“Legal Alien,” a collection from “Chants,” is a short free versed poem written by Pat Mora. The poem explores the lives of Mexican-Americans and the cultural tension they have to face. The poet discusses a bi-cultural person whose parents are from Mexico but the person was born and raised in America and is an American citizen by law. Although he can speak fluent English and Spanish, he still has a hard time being accepted by both or one race. Mora’s use of poetic techniques such as metaphor, tone and antithesis emphasizes her concerns in regards to the issue.