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Jimmy Santiago Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca is a well-known American poet and writer. He became one of the best American poet after he discover his passion of poetry during the time he spent in prison. Baca has published his remarkable poetry books collections such as Black Mesa Poems (1995), Poems Taken from My Yard (1986), and Healing Earthquakes (2001). He is also the author of stories, A Glass of Water (2009) is his most recent book.

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Baca has published his “memoir” book A Place to Stand in 2001, he explored his survival story and his personal transformation during the experiences he has been through from his childhood and his Duration sentenced in prison and then after he got released. The first chapter reflects his tough childhood memories. Jimmy did not has a normal and the common type of childhood life, his father was drunk all the time and his mother abandoned him and his siblings and went away with a white man. In his early age, Jimmy and his siblings were raised by their grandmother few years before Jimmy and his brother Mieyo were moved to live in an orphanage.

However, after spending few painful years in the orphanage, he ran away from there and ended up in a detention school facility where he became a football star player. Jimmy tried to fill his emptiness and loneliness that were caused by his parents abandonment, he wanted to feel like normal kid, but he felt unsuitable in that place and displaced so he left school after his brother Mieyo’s visit. They moved to live in different place and work as plumbers. Jimmy was all alone after his brother Mieyo left him, at that time Jimmy found his first love, a girl named Theressa.

Jimmy never had any serious relationship experience before Theressa. His love for her blinded him from the fact that she was not in love with him, she was only into his bad behaviors and used him for sexual needs. Jimmy lost his job as a plumber and left to San Diego grieving with his heart broken, it was not easy for him to get over Theressa. After moving to San Diego, Jimmy got involved in drugs trade that led him to be convicted of drug possession. Jimmy was sentenced to six years in prison. At that time, everyone he knew abandoned him including his sister.

His reality was his worst nightmare, he had some few acquaintances in prison but no actual friends, he kept his distance from other prisoners. The beginning of Jimmy’s life in prison was challenging, he was only observing and watching in order to learn how to adapt in this environment. Jimmy experienced various difficulties and hard time in prison, some of these difficulties are racism and dealing with homosexual prisoners. During his time in prison, Jimmy started to recall and remember all his childhood memories and how did his childhood affected him negatively and led him to this path.

He started to release his anger and his strong emotions which made him violently uncontrollable. As a result of his actions, Jimmy spent few years in insolation. After he became normal and his uncontrollable actions were diminished, he found his passion and desire for poetry, after all, he learnt how to read and write in prison. Jimmy’s talent and passion of poetry extremely changed him, the prison was a source of inspiration and his cell was as a womb to him. He was receiving letters from his family, telling him the new news.

Jimmy’s father died weeks ago after jimmy received his father’s letter. It was not allowed to him to attend his father’s funeral. Jimmy spent his final months developing his writing skills and thinking about the future. How his life will be after he get release? , What is waiting for him in outside world? , and what kind of person he will become?. All these kind of question were hunting Jimmy’s mind in his last few months in prison. Finally Jimmy Baca was released and started a new life with a new view of the world.


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