Location: Yavapai College Library 1100 E. Sheldon Street Prescott, AZ 86301 Susan N. Webb Community Room Building 19, Room 147 Google Map
Winner of a multitude of literary prizes, Jimmy Santiago Baca unearthed a voracious passion for writing while serving time in a maximum security prison. He has devoted his post-prison life to sharing his experience and teaching his craft to others who are overcoming hardship. After a turbulent childhood and a history of delinquency, Jimmy was sentenced to five years in prison at age 21. While in jail, an unusual transformation occurred when he embraced reading and writing. During a fateful conflict with another inmate, Jimmy was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca, and made a choice that would alter his destiny. Instead of becoming a hardened criminal, he emerged from prison with his own poetic voice. In 1979, the year after his release, he earned his GED.
Over the years, Jimmy’s work has matured from journal-like poems to revealing memoirs and poignant short stories. His themes include American Southwest barrios, addiction, injustice, community, love, and beyond. Black Mesa Poems (1986-89) was Jimmy’s first widely-published poetry collection. Martin & Meditations on the South Valley (1987), his highly-acclaimed long narrative poem, won the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. His 2001 memoir, A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet won the prestigious International Award. His first short story collection, The Importance of a Piece of Paper, was published in 2004. Jimmy wrote the screenplay for the controversial 1993 Taylor Hackford film Bound by Honor (aka Blood in, Blood out). An International Poetry Slam champion, Jimmy’s other awards include the National Endowment of Poetry Award, Vogelstein Foundation Award, Berkeley Regents Award, Pushcart Prize, Southwest Book Award, and American Book Award.
As an essayist, editor, and foreword guest, Jimmy chooses authors and subjects which mirror his own journey from outsider to artist. For more than 25 years, he has conducted writing workshops in correctional facilities across the United States. In 2005, he founded Cedar Tree, Inc., a nonprofit organization that runs the Prison Literacy Project, which avails education and scholarships to inmates. A documentary movie about the project is being produced. Jimmy is the 2006 recipient of the American Council on Education’s Cornelius P. Turner Award for outstanding public service achievement since earning a GED.
A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca A Glass of Water by Jimmy Santiago Baca Singing at the Gates by Jimmy Santiago Baca ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age 13, it was after he was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison that he began to turn his life around: he learned to read and write and instead of becoming a hardened criminal, he emerged from prison a writer. Baca sent three of his poems to Denise Levertov, the poetry editor of Mother Jones magazine. The poems were published and became part of Immigrants in Our Own Land, published in 1979, the year he was released from prison. He earned his GED later that same year.
He has conducted hundreds of writing workshops in prisons, community centers, libraries, and universities throughout the country. Learn more about Jimmy on his website.
Location: Street: 1100 E. Sheldon St Additional: Yavapai College Library, Susan N. Webb Community Room, Building 19, Room 147 City: Prescott, Province: Arizona Postal Code: 86301 Country: United States (added from IndieBound)