A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet

A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet

by Jimmy Santiago Baca
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A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca's harrowing, brilliant memoir of his life before, during, and immediately after the years he spent in a maximum-security prison garnered tremendous critical acclaim and went on to win the prestigious 2001 International Prize. Long considered one of the best poets in America today, Baca was illiterate at the age of twenty-one and facing five to ten years behind bars for selling drugs. A Place to Stand is the remarkable tale of how he emerged after his years in the penitentiary -- much of it spent in isolation -- with the ability to read and a passion for writing poetry. A vivid portrait of life inside a maximum-security prison and an affirmation of one man's spirit in overcoming the most brutal adversity, A Place to Stand "stands as proof there is always hope in even the most desperate lives" -- (Fort Worth Morning Star-Telegram). "A Place to Stand is a hell of a book, quite literally. You won't soon forget it." -- Luis Urrea, The San Diego Union-Tribune "This book will have a permanent place in American letters." -- Jim Harrison

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802139085
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/28/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 78,828
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

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A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Nolanmiller More than 1 year ago
People who don't think that written word or anything in text can change and transform they're life are proven false after I read this incredible book about a troubled youth and a long 5 year term in New Mexico's Maximum Security prison. When Jimmy Santiago Baca enters New Mexico's Florence State Prison in 1973, he was convicted on a heavy drug charge; Jimmy is a ripe 21 year old boy and has an impressively long history of trouble with the law for being such a young age. There's no reason or no hope left in his life, his father was a drunk and his mother abandoned him to live with as a white person with a white family and a white house. With no more options you would think jail will do turn him into a hardened criminal, with standing up for himself with guards and menacing convicts quickly gains him a reputation as a "BA" troublemaker. But there is hope in Jimmy's life with him illiterate and down on his luck he unsuccessfully tries to get permission to take classes in prison, only fueling his desire. When a volunteer from a catholic group sends him an emotional letter, writing and learning how to express feelings and words on paper started to unleash something in Baca, who starts writing letters and poems with the help of a mini dictionary. Evaluating literature shows him reasons for understanding his tender family background and expressing his way of thinking. Poetry very literally saves him from being a murderer, as Jimmy stands over another convict with a deadly weapon, ready to take the mans soul, and listened to "the voices of Neruda and Lorca... praising life as sacred and challenging me: How can you kill and still be a poet?"(Baca 231) Baca has a year to go on his sentence and he begins to think about a positive new life, instead of thinking about his next day in isolation he thinks about his next day in the real world. Without diminishing the brutality of life in jail, Baca shows compassion for the men there who helped him and insists his commitment to writing poetry for people who are misunderstood, telling the truth about the life that prisoners have to endure.
surfer9 More than 1 year ago
Its a book that you never want to put down, telling you how Jimmy's life through his hard struggles and life changing events he wanted to turn his life around for the better. Its a very detailed book of Jimmy's life making it seem like you were there with him through every event in his life. Its a great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was a good book, but the guy made himself up to be a victim. he deserved a lot that happened to him and gave a one sided opinion. I know the guy went through alot, but come on he did so many horrible things. For example: stole a car, stabbed a prisoner with a shank, sold and smoked crack and weed, and did tons of other stuff. But throughout the entire novel, he basically said everyone else was at fault, and he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. If you like a cool biography, read this book. but if you hate hearing people complain, and victimize themselves, leave this one on the shelf.
Sita-Marie More than 1 year ago
I felt that Jimmy Santiago Baca did not understand the point of writing a memoir, to reflect. I was waiting for that ah-ha! moment and it never came, he still blames everyone for his life's life's troubles and it is infuriating that he can't take ownership of his own actions. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Gritty at times. A must on everyone's list.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting
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NessaRose28 More than 1 year ago
The author had a great story to tell, and i loved all the articulate details, it made me feel as if i had actually been there. Everyone should read it.
-Twilighter- More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a good book i had to read it for one of my college classes and at first i didn't like but when i actually started reading it i got really into and found that it was actually a really good book. I would recommend this book anytime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! At times I felt I was actually there. The author really, truely knows how to articulate. Well done!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My fiance is and has been incarcerated for several years. Some of the time he has spent behind bars was at the actual prison in the book. I found the book very interesting and gave me more of a feel for the life behind bars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Jimmy went through so much and writes about every detail. After I finished the book, it felt like I knew Jimmy as a close friend. You will not be disappoint if you get this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't read that much. But this is one of the best book I have read.I have gone back and read parts agian and agian.You just can't put it down.I have recommended it to everyone I know including my daughters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wrenching yet riveting memoir of a man's journey to self-expression. It's amazing that a life that knew such violence, drugs and imprisonment could have led the way to poetry. The truth of Jimmy Santiago Baca's life story is not easy to read, but it is thoroughly compelling. The violence and scenes in prison ring with a kind of truth I am sure I wouldn't have been aware of had I not read this account. The stories of his loves and hatreds are heartrending, but his account of learning to read and how that affected the rest of his life discloses the incredible interior struggle of an immense creative energy.