Jimmy Santiago Baca – Subject and Consultant

Abandoned by his parents, raised for a time by his grandparents and later sent to an orphanage, Jimmy became a runaway at age 13. Angry and full of fight, he fended for himself and found his way from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Yuma, Arizona, where he began selling drugs. Eventually Jimmy got caught, and was sentenced to five years in one of the most brutal and dangerous maximum security prisons in the country. Illiterate and destitute, it was in prison that his life began to turn around: he learned to read and write, unearthing a voracious passion for poetry.

A winner of the American Book Award and the National Poetry Award, among many others, Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship. He has conducted hundreds of writing workshops in prisons, community centers, libraries, and universities throughout the country.