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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I can't believe I haven't written a review of A Place to Stand before now! Jimmy Santiago Baca's story of overcoming all of the harrowing events in his life - that seemed designed... Read morePublished 7 days ago by K. E. Dabney
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Baca on a recent US flight. I read his book and was very touched with his honesty and story telling ability. Read morePublished 1 month ago by IVRNGAL
I liked everything about this book. The poems, the truths and the sacred Darkness brought to light -thru no fault of his own (in spite of himself and his life's path)- AND because... Read morePublished 1 month ago by satyadharma keyes
This book is amazing. I read it for the first time in a College English class. Definitely worth the price.Published 1 month ago by Alexia Lamarque
One of the most amazing and inspirational readings. A Place to Stand showed us that Jimmy Santiago Baca is a remarkable individual, who, through his own enormous energies and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Clara Apodaca
A very emotional book to read. I am inspired by how the individual overcame his short comings and has suceeded in life in general. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Pam Maestas
Great book I don't even like reading and I loved this one definitely going to have my kids read this some day so they have an understanding of prison life and what other people... Read morePublished 4 months ago by John