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Words As The Way To Freedom: Jimmy Santiago Baca


Prison windows. Image via Flickr (cc) user weirdo513.

From illiterate street kid, to world renowned poet, Jimmy Santiago Baca has lived a long and winding path.  It was in prison that Baca connected with his Native American and Chicano heritage, and began learning the lessons of his people’s past. On this edition, Progressive Magazine editor Matthew Rothschild sits down with Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Special thanks to the Progressive Magazine.


Jimmy Santiago Baca, poet and educator; Matthew Rothschild, Progressive Magazine Editor.

For More Information:

Jimmy Santiago Baca
A Place to Stand
Progressive Radio Show
Safe Streets Arts Foundation
Red Lodge Transition Services
Friends of Red Lodge
American Indian Prison Pen Pals
The Progressive Magazine

Articles, Blogs, Reports and Videos:

Jimmy Santiago Baca Reads Selections from his Work Before an Audience at La Jolla’s  Sherwood Auditorium
Healing Earthquakes by Jimmy Santiago Baca
19 poems by Jimmy Santiago Baca


“Spirits Abandoned” by Dark Noontide

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  1. It was amazing to hear his experience. Learning to read was what took me out of my predetermined poverty and ignorance.

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  2. I was very inspired by Jimmy’s story and the poem he read at the end of the show. He embodies how powerful and therapuetic imagination can be. It is hard to imagine not going completely insane under the duress of prison. Instead he chose a higher path. Are you familar with Peter Pringle and Sonny Jacobs stories? They survived extreme punishment in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Check them out asap. Thanks for the show, Autumn

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  3. I’m taking English 125 at Fresno City College, apart of the class is where we are reading the “A PLACE TO STAND” By Jimmy Santiago Baca. I find the book rather fasniating and interestesing and would certainly recommand to anyone who I would feel would benefit from it. Dude you rock. Keep up the good work and God Bless You with what else good that comes your way in life.

    Anna Marie Zimmerman
    831 E. Weldon Ave
    Fresno, Ca 93704

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  4. I listened his story when i was driving, i was mesmerized, very powerful and moving story. I will check more of his work.

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