This book just shot to the top of my Must Have list. Probably the best thing I could say about Baca’s work is that Barb and I once traveled an hour-and-a-half to hear him read at Word Temple in Santa Rosa and (due to a family emergency) Jimmy had to cancel his appearance at the last minute. At that point, I had never heard him read live so I was completely bummed out. Luckily, host Katherine Hastings and another Word Temple regular decided they would proxy for Baca and delivered a great reading of his work. A year later, I would finally get to hear Jimmy read in person and it was just as intense, lyrical and moving; a real testament to his ability to convey his presence through his text and his text amplifying his real-life persona. It’s going to be great to have one collection that can sum up a part of that experience.
Champion of the International Poetry Slam, winner of the Before Columbus American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the prestigious International Award, Jimmy Santiago Baca has been writing as a mestizo (part Native American, part Mexican) and an outsider ever since he learned to read and write — in English — during a six-year Federal prison sentence when he was in his twenties. Drawing on his rich ethnic heritage and his life growing up in poverty in the Southwestern United States, Baca has a created a body of work which speaks to the disenfranchised by drawing on his experiences as a prisoner, a father, a poet, and by reflecting on the lush, and sometimes stark, landscape of the Rio Grande valley.
In response to increased demand for Latino poetry in Spanish, and to thousands of Baca fans who are bilingual, this unique collection contains Spanish translations of Baca’s poetry selected from the volumes Martín and Mediations on the South Valley (1987), Black Mesa Poems (1989), Immigrants in Our Own Land (1990), Healing Earthquakes (2001), C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande (2004), and Spring Poems Along the Rio Grande (2007).
Pre-order your copy here.