Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
A Place to Stand (original 2001; edition 2002)
by Jimmy Santiago Baca (Author)
A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca (2001)
Checked out 2019-03-26 — Due 2019-04-02 — Overdue
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802139086, Paperback)Anyone who doubts the power of the written word to transform a life will know better after reading poet Jimmy Santiago Baca's wrenching memoir of his troubled youth and the five-year jail stint that turned him around.
When he enters New Mexico's Florence State Prison in 1973, convicted on a drug charge, Baca is 21 and has a long history of trouble with the law. There's no reason to think jail will do anything but turn him into a hardened criminal, and standing up for himself with guards and menacing fellow cons quickly gains him a reputation as a troublemaker. But there have already been hints that this turbulent young man is looking for a way out, as he painstakingly spells out a poem from a clerk's college textbook while awaiting trial or unsuccessfully tries to get permission to take classes in prison.
When a volunteer from a religious group sends him a letter, contact with the written word unleashes something in Baca, who starts writing letters and poems with the aid of a dictionary. Reading literature shows him possibilities for understanding his painful family background and expressing his feelings. Poetry literally saves him from being a murderer, as Baca stands over another convict with an illegal weapon, ready to finish him off, and hears "the voices of Neruda and Lorca... praising life as sacred and challenging me: How can you kill and still be a poet?" Baca has a year to go on his sentence, but the reader knows at that point he has made a choice that will alter his destiny.
Without softening the brutality of life in jail, Baca expresses great tenderness for the men there who helped him and affirms his commitment to writing poetry for them, "telling the truth about the life that prisoners have to endure." --Wendy Smith
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:59 -0400)
The story of Jimmy Santiago Baca, "winner of the Pushcart Prize and the American Book Award, ... called an heir to Pablo Neruda, ... [who] at the age of twenty-one ... was illiterate and facing five to ten years in a maximum-security prison for selling drugs."--Jacket.
(summary from another edition)
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.