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Book reviews for "Baca,_Jimmy_Santiago" sorted by average review score:

Undoing Time: American Prisoners in Their Own Words
Published in Paperback by Northeastern University Press (November, 2000)
Authors: Jeff Evans, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and Craig W. Haney
Amazon base price: $20.00
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Great Anthology!
I read this book in a day...well half of it. I finished it in two days and I found it to be very informative about prison since the stories come from prisoners.

Fascinating anthology
This compassionate collection of prisoner autobiographies made me feel very sad in places, angry in others, hopeful and encouraged in still others. The accounts, like the prisoners who wrote them, are diverse: their tone varies from poetic and sublime to gruesome and shocking. Few, if any, are self-pitying. The editor seems to have taken great pains in selecting pieces that tell a different story about criminals' lives: how backgrounds (mostly horrific) aren't always to blame for their choices in life, how criminals *can* tell right from wrong, and how deeply sorry (but not always able to express that sorrow, and seldom encouraged to do so) many of these prisoners are for the damage they've done to others and to themselves. This is a fascinating, revealing read. Anyone who has any interest at all in prisoners' backgrounds, crime or criminals will relish this superb collection of autobiographical stories that editor Jeff Evans has compiled.

Rare glimpses into the lives of America's human garbage
I met the author of this book recently at a reading/signing in Brooklyn, NY and asked him why he wrote it. He was careful to point out that it was a collaborative effort of nearly 40 people but that he was always interested in the personal histories of prisoners and just could never find a book on them. Indeed, this is the first time I've ever come across a book like this too. I'm always skeptical about anything prisoners have to say, but I was deeply affected by the stories of these prisoners' lives. They were honest-sounding and eye-opening, and the piece by William Skeans, in which he describes his own family as "white trash" was especially heartbreaking. One woman prisoner wrote about her father's suicide and, although her piece was short, it left me feeling as numb as the author after she saw her blood-spattered mother seated in the living room. Not all criminals are witnesses to violence, but as Jimmy Santiago Baca writes in his preface, "For most of these writers, their childhood environment consisted of dope fiends, alcoholics, or thieves who lied, cheated, stole and raped, plundering their innocence and any chance of a normal life. When this happens to you as a kid, it virtually guarantees you'll end up behind bars." These well-chosen autobiographical stories will live on in your mind and make you think seriously about the nature of crime and our unforgiving justice system.

The Heat: Steelworker Lives & Legends
Published in Paperback by Cedar Hill Pubns (February, 2001)
Authors: Stacy James and Jimmy Santiago Baca
Amazon base price: $15.00
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A book worth reading!!
I got the chance of actually meeting several of the authors as they read their stories at Calumet College of St. Joseph on Feb. 5, 2002. These people have worked hard and long in steelmills, yet not many people appreciate the jobs they do. They have proven beyond doubt that they can do more then work on steelmills. These men that read their stories have shown that they can be creative if they put their minds to it!!

Steelworkers in a new light.
As I read the collection of stories, I was surprised by the humanity and humility expressed by the writers. For the first time, I could relate to the life and times of an average steelworker. They are after all no different than anyone else in struggling to survive everyday life. Only the key difference is the unique and dangerous work that invovles earning their daily bread. Despite this fact, the truly american values shine through of hard work and pride in doing the job right no matter how dirty and dangerous it may be. Steelworkers after all are people too!

Well Worth Reading...
Excellent accounts of experiences and stories by steelworkers. They share not only their stories, but their feelings as well. I found it as one of those books which is difficult to put down once you've begun reading it. A book well worth reading!

Martin & Meditations on the South Valley
Published in Paperback by New Directions Publishing (October, 1987)
Authors: Jimmy Santiago Baca and Denise Levertov
Amazon base price: $19.95
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Walking the dusty streets of our hearts
"Martin and Meditations on the South Valley" provide the clearest voice for the dispossessed gente--la raza--of Aztlan. JSB is the greatest living writer among Chicanos simply because he captures the anger, the despair and the violence that oppression breeds among Chicanos. His brilliance is that he simultaneously captures the beauty, the love, the humanity of a people who have never lost touch with their lands, their families, their culture,their indigenous roots and their humanity.

jimmy writes from the heart
Jimmy Santiago Baca writes of experiences that most people will never have, except through the reading of this epic poem...many may think that they have a 'hard' life, but to read the author's story is to have but a glimpse of the beauty and pain that he has lived, and survived, and become stronger from...his story is one that is lived by many, but written of by so few...I hope that you read this book and achieve the insight and understanding of his true heroism, in the face of unbelievable odds, that would surely break all of us who never lived on the streets ,or who never had to learn of the power of the written word while in prison....he has returned from the ashes to tell a story of rebirth through true poetry, of survival not imagined, but lived....I work with young adults every day that must overcome the obstacles that Jimmy Santiago Baca has survived...and I hope that the reader learns from what he has written...poetry has the power to heal, and this book won a national award because it is truely special and unique, as is the author...thank you...

Beautiful verse and surreal imagery!
Beautiful verse and surreal imagery! Jimmy Santiago Baca allows the reader a glimpse of Latino-American life in Martin & Meditations on the South Valley. This book is a highly recommended read, both for its poetic value and introspective quality

Healing Earthquakes: Poems
Published in Paperback by Grove Press (10 July, 2001)
Author: Jimmy Santiago Baca
Amazon base price: $10.50
List price: $15.00 (that's 30% off!)
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Healing Earthquakes -- an Incredible Epic
Who is this Jimmy Santiago Baca, this orphaned gangster, jailbird, vata loco, this poet? Baca, who didn't learn to read and write until he was in prison, has created in Healing Earthquakes a work worthy of Whitman, Milton or Dante. The emotional direction for most of this epic poem is downward. He starts at a gentle incline that subtly becomes steeper as he paints pictures of his impoverished but proud background as a Mexican/Indian kid suffering the prejudices around him. Healing Earthquakes then goes deeper into the most magical images of his passionate love to Lisana. But Lisana leaves and Baca walks alone with emptiness and sorrow. By now he is approaching the center of the earth, the First Mother, the heart of the earthquake. His images and rhythm here are black and beautifully angry. Just when the mood of filth and darkness seems inescapable Baca bursts out into the sunlight with "... but I'll sing in the fields, roads, on stages/at every community center and college/and transform your hurt, my hurt, their hurt/into that dream of peace you believed in/... empower(ing)/people who will join me in this dream of yours/to make a more peaceful world. I will!" Healing Earthquakes is not for the faint of heart but if you stay with it, it will open your heart.

Poetry with Heart
Jimmy Santiago Baca's 'Healing Earthquakes' stands apart from much of the poetry published today. If you are looking for well-ordered lines with an academic feel, this is not it. Baca's free form is reminiscent of Whitman or Neruda, but he goes beyond Whitman, beyond Neruda. Baca exposes and rips apart the very heart and soul of his protagonist, allows him to suffer unbearably, and then reveals him as a fuller, more complex, yet still flawed human being. Imagery and metaphor are used liberally. No subject is taboo. Baca explores race, language, social issues, sex, philosophy, work, hate, pain, and love, not from a theoretical standpoint, but from someone who has been there. Every line has the ring of truth because Baca is writing about what he knows. While the poem may be somewhat autobiographical, almost every page has something that forces the reader to stop and think, stop and feel for a moment, because the experiences expressed are universal. The verses contain their own internal logic and meter. Open the book anywhere and read aloud. You will find them carefully crafted.

This is not a work one reads and forgets easily. Only during my second reading did I begin to understand some of the nuances, the subtleties, of the human psyche that Baca portrays. Step outside of the mundane and read 'Healing Earthquakes;' you will not be disappointed.

Black Mesa Poems
Published in Paperback by New Directions Publishing (November, 1989)
Author: Jimmy Santiago Baca
Amazon base price: $9.95
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An Outstanding Book by a Great Poet
This work focuses on Baca's deep connection to his homeland of New Mexico. The poems show a profound understanding of the connections which have developed between the rugged landscape and the people who inhabit it. Baca has found a trove of metaphors for life and living in that environment, yet never succumbs to flaccid sentimentality in his poems. This book has a very special quality: it is accessible to every fan and student of poetry---indeed, it often speaks to you seemingly without your having to read it.

Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio
Published in Paperback by Red Crane Books (December, 1994)
Authors: Jimmy Santiago Baca and Adan Hernandez
Amazon base price: $9.56
List price: $11.95 (that's 20% off!)
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Just great again!
Jimmy Santiago Baca talks about his film Blood in Blood Out Bound By Honor. I consider him on the best Chicano Authors of our Time!

Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio
Jimmy Baca attempts to talk about his life and his poetry! If you own this book, get the movie, Blood in Blood Out Bound By Honor!

A Tremendous Novel of Great Importance!
Jimmy Santiago Baca's "Working in the Dark" is a novel of extreme importance. Baca gives life and voice to imprisoned people who because of their ethicity, language, culture, and imprisonment have ben reducaed to cultural and social marginality by the dominant white culture and by those foriegn to Southwestern culture. "Voices From the Dark" is a must read for students of Chicano culture and the Southwest. It is a modern classic which may not be realized as such for decades to come!

A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet
Published in Hardcover by Grove Press (10 July, 2001)
Author: Jimmy Santiago Baca
Amazon base price: $16.80
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Powerful, Sad and Inspirational
Being a Chicano, about the same age as Jimmy Baca and the son of a prison guard who worked for 28 years at Ariz State Prison, I read this story with great interest. I not convinced that all the details about Jimmy's time in the Joint were believeable but Mr Baca has my absolute respect for elevating himself and recognizing that surviving meant more than just "geeting out!". He writes with the anger, color and passion of a proud latino who understands that life only gets better if YOU change it. I recommend this work as well as Jimmy's poetry.

Read this book!
Jimmy Baca has revealed his life's story in a brutally honest, gripping narrative. His masterful ability to use words to describe the entire range of human experience - from pain to redemption - is simply thrilling. He reveals some of the horrors and wonders of being Mexican-American in an American culture that routinely has failed to see the astonishing potential in far too many of his brothers and sisters. He takes us with him into worlds few have known and leaves us feeling more human for having gone on the journey with him.

I was touched by the author's story and commend him for making it through a very rough life. I could relate with him when he told of his early chilhood days. I was raised in Albuqurerque New Mexico and had a Grandfather and Grandmother "Baca". His descriptions of family, food, and places touched home.
I couldn't put this book down, a very good read.

Between the Lines: Letters Between Undocumented Mexican and Central American Immigrants and Their Families and Friends
Published in Paperback by University of Arizona Press (August, 1995)
Authors: Larry Siems and Jimmy Santiago Baca
Amazon base price: $20.95
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poor translation
The letters are amazingly interesting if you are fluent in Spanish. However, the translations into English are literal and are unbelievable poor and almost humorous. The premise for the book is a good one, though it would have been much more meaningful had the translations been more accurate. I'd recommend it if you're bilingual and recommend you to skip it if you're not.

C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans: Dream Boy's Story
Published in Paperback by Grove Press (October, 2002)
Author: Jimmy Santiago Baca
Amazon base price: $10.40
List price: $13.00 (that's 20% off!)
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En Suelo Firme = A Place to Stand
Published in Paperback by Alamah (01 October, 2002)
Author: Jimmy Santiago Baca
Amazon base price: $20.76
List price: $25.95 (that's 20% off!)
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