The Northern New Mexico tradition of saint carving began in the 1700s as an expression of worship among Catholics in isolated villages. In Aunt Carmen’s Book of Practical Saints, Pat Mora extends the tradition to poetry. Through Mora’s poems, some written in traditional Spanish forms, we hear the private speech of Aunt Carmen’s devotion. From a prayer for a suitable husband to a prayer that the Good Shepherdess guide her to unexpected beauty, Aunt Carmen’s poems, each paired with a reproduction of a traditional saint carving, inspire and illuminate.
“[Aunt Carmen] has earned Mora a heavenly place in the pantheon of major poets.” -Rafael Castillo, San Antonio Express-News