Jimmy Santiago Baca, a poet whose work focuses on the southwestern United States and Chicano culture, will read from his poetry on Wednesday, March 1, at 8 p.m., in the Chapel. The reading is free and open to the public.
Baca was born in Santa Fe, N.M., and was abandoned by his parents at the age of 10. He wound up living on the streets and at the age of 21 was convicted of drug charges and then incarcerated for 6½ years.
During his time in prison, Baca taught himself to read, write and compose poetry. He submitted some of his poems to Mother Jones that were eventually published. Following his release, Baca kept writing and his 1987 semi-autobiographical memoir Martin and Meditations on the South Valley received the American Book Award for Poetry and, in 1989, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature. In 2004, he founded the non-profit organization Cedar Tree, which supports workshops for children and adults on poetry.