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Poet and fiction writer Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the son of a cement finisher and a cook, was born in his grandmother's house in Picacho, N.M. He studied at the University of Iowa and Stanford University as a Wallace E. Stegner fellow. His first collection of poetry, "Calendar of Dust" (1991), won the American Book Award. He is the author of a collection of short stories, "Flowers for the Broken" (1992), the novel "Carry Me Like Water" (1995), several children's books and a collection of poems, "Elegies in Blue" (Cinco Puntos Press, 2002). He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso.