A Place to Stand

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Grove/Atlantic, Inc., Dec 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages
8 Reviews
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

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Laurenbdavis - LibraryThing

A testament to how writing and literature can transform lives. Baca's grim memoir of a tragic childhood, some bad (although perhaps understandable) choices during his troubled youth, and his five-year ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - snash - LibraryThing

A memoir of a Chicano boy of an alcoholic father, abandoned by his mother to his grandparents. Then at 5 or 6 his grandfather died. He spent the next 20 years in institutions, except for brief forays ... Read full review

Selected pages


Chapter ONE
Chapter TWO
Chapter THREE
Chapter FOUR
Chapter FIVE
Chapter SIX
Chapter SEVEN
Chapter EIGHT
Chapter NINE
Chapter TEN
Chapter ELEVEN
Chapter TWELVE

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Page 14 - Mom was trying to impress him with her "white ways," but it made her look silly. It wasn't so with my father; he spoke Spanish and used English only when he had to. He listened to Mexican music, and all his friends were Mexicans. I never saw him with an Anglo. He never said anything bad about them, but he made a point to stay away from them. I remember riding around with him and saying, "No, don't want to go in there, too many gringos.
Page 1 - The captain shrugged, surprised at her, and led us past holding cells to the drunk tank. It smelled like urine and whiskey vomit. I held tightly to Mother's hand. The corridors were dark and gloomy, and the slightest sound echoed ominously in the hall. We stopped in front of a cell where men sat and stared at the wall in front of them. Some were crumpled on the floor where they had passed out. "iOye, Damacio, despierta.1" the captain cried, and banged the bars with his baton.
Page 1 - Did you have to bring him?" he asked accusingly. Then he added, clearly hurt that I was there, "I don't want him seeing me like this. Get me out of here." "No," Mom said. He stared at her. "Listen, you, don't — " Shaking with rage, he looked at me and made an effort to control himself. We stood in silence for a few seconds. Then Mom cried, "Stay away from us!

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About the author (2007)

Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has written several books of poetry and a number of screenplays. His awards include the National Endowment of Poetry Award, Vogelstein Foundation Award, National Hispanic Heritage Award, Berkeley Regents Award, Pushcart Prize, Southwest Book Award, and American Book Award.

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