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"These are the things that make me want to be a better writer: the desert sky, the dust storms, the smell of rain, the river that is no longer a river but a border—my entire landscape; the violence that is killing the city of Juárez; opening William Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom! and finding a passage, then reading it aloud; rereading Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera; reading anything by C. D. Wright, C. K. Williams, Juan Felipe Herrera, or Alberto Álvaro Ríos; listening to the pain and the humor in a Frank O'Hara poem; listening to the music of Nina Simone, Kurt Elling, or Billie Holiday; listening to Paul McCartney's 'The Long and Winding Road' over and over and over; listening to the quiet on a Sunday morning."
—Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press, 2010)