“A Place to Stand” is the authorized story of Jimmy Santiago Baca’s transformation from an illiterate convict to an award-winning poet and novelist.
I’d heard of Jimmy Santiago Baca back in 2004 during a poetry class, but I didn’t dive into his work and later learn about the man he was until 2007 when I picked up a copy of his Black Mesa Poems. This book rocked me to my core. Having had my own father issues, lines like “I do not live to retrieve / or multiply what my father lost / or gained” took on a wild significance in my life. The book helped teach me how to move on the page, but it always went a long way towards helping me find healthy ways to address my inner rage.
After blasting through the book I became obsessed with understanding who Baca was. What I found astonished me. Here was a man abandoned at age 2, a man who spent nearly 7 years in prison. And here was a man who turned that around by becoming a renowned poet hellbent on helping our country’s many at-risk and struggling youth. No talk about teaching poetry in juvenile detention centers or prisons can withhold Baca’s name. He’s a legend.
Now, there are 3 days left to help fund a feature-length documentary about him. We need stories like this to be told, to not be forgotten, to hold up when our own flames are flickering. Check out the video below and please consider throwing in a few bucks to help make this thing happen: