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Book Title: Elegies in Blue|
The author of the book: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Edition: Cinco Puntos Press
Date of issue: February 1st 2002
ISBN 13: 9780938317647
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Reader ratings: 6.1
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 745 KB
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Benjamin Saenz writes, "In the desert, we live in a desert of translation." That is exactly what he sets out to do, in this, his third book of poems—translate experience into words. He writes of history and learning and death. He writes of loss and knowledge and the difficulties of coming to terms with the harsh and untamable landscape of the border. Ultimately, his elegies are "stones that praise the lives" of those who have given him words.
In the tradition of Latin American literature, Saenz believes that poetry should be part of the public discourse and not shunted aside as irrelevant to our country's larger issues. Here he maps out personal, political and spiritual histories. He speaks about political and literary heroes, anti-heroes and everyday people, and he remembers his growing up Chicano in the Catholic world of the U.S./Mexico Border. From these elements, he creates a philosophy of speaking publicly as poet.
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Read information about the authorBenjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books.
He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humanities and Philosophy in 1977. He studied Theology at the University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium from 1977 to 1981. He was a priest for a few years in El Paso, Texas before leaving the order.
In 1985, he returned to school, and studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso where he earned an M.A. degree in Creative Writing. He then spent a year at the University of Iowa as a PhD student in American Literature. A year later, he was awarded a Wallace E. Stegner fellowship. While at Stanford University under the guidance of Denise Levertov, he completed his first book of poems, Calendar of Dust, which won an American Book Award in 1992. He entered the Ph.D. program at Stanford and continued his studies for two more years. Before completing his Ph.D., he moved back to the border and began teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso in the bilingual MFA program.
His first novel, Carry Me Like Water was a saga that brought together the Victorian novel and the Latin American tradition of magic realism and received much critical attention.
In The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), his fifth book of poems, he writes to the core truth of life's ever-shifting memories. Set along the Mexican border, the contrast between the desert's austere beauty and the brutality of border politics mirrors humanity's capacity for both generosity and cruelty.
In 2005, he curated a show of photographs by Julian Cardona.
He continues to teach in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.
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