Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio

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9780890135150: Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio
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Baca passionately explores the troubled years of his youth, from which he emerged with heightened awareness of his ethnic identify as a Chicano, his role as a witness for the misunderstood tribal life of the barrio, and his redemptive vocation as a poet.

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About the Author:

Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1952. His parents abandoned him at the age of two, and he lived with his grandmother for several years before being placed in an orphanage. A runaway at age thirteen, Baca was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison at the age of twenty-one for drug offenses. It was in prison that he learned to read and write and began to compose poetry. His book Martin & Meditations on the South Valley, a pair of long narrative poems, won an American Book Award in 1988. In addition to his poetry collections and stories, Baca wrote the screenplay for the movie Bound by Honor, which was released by Hollywood Pictures in 1993.

From Publishers Weekly:

The story revealed in these mid-life recollections by Chicano poet Baca is absorbing: an orphan child in a New Mexican city or town name not given/MM barrio, poorly schooled, immersed in drugs and petty crime, he only discovered the power of language as a convict, on reading Neruda and Paz: "Their language was the magic that could liberate me from myself, transform me into another person, transport me to other places far away." This volume is less an autobiography than a romantic paean, taking form as a series of essays, to the redemptive, ecstatic capabilities of poetry. Baca sees his vocation in transcendental terms: "I became one with the air and sky, the dirt and the iron and the concrete"; he regards himself as a voice for the poor and oppressed in America. As a self-ordained spokesperson for Chicanos, he is at his best when evoking barrio culture: his stately grandmother, the village cantinas and the quiet solidarity of Mexican workers. The book finally disappoints, however; too many reflections are self-indulgent, gratuitously profane, incoherent or simply lost in torturous metaphors.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9781878610089: Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio (Red Crane Literature Series)

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ISBN 10:  1878610082 ISBN 13:  9781878610089
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9781878610478: Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio (Red Crane Literature Series)

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