From the Sword to the Pen: Jimmy Santiago Baca

Apr 20, 2015

As part of the 8th Annual Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival at Metropolitan State University of Denver (and National Poetry Month), celebrated poet Jimmy Santiago Baca came to town and visited "First Take with Lando and Chavis."

Credit Esai Baca, www.jimmysantiagobaca.com

"What gets me to write?  No matter what trends in pop culture, soap bubbles we blow, and all the money that flows in and out of this society, I think it's those people that get out of bed in the morning and put on their work boots and go to work and stand at the bus stop with lunch buckets.  Or the women you see trudging after 6-7-8-9-10 mayors come and go, and those women are still cleaning the same porches, changing the same diapers.  It's those people that never get credit - their lives are like jazz that run through the neighborhoods.  It's that jazz that keeps the belief in all of us that keeps us faithful to (the idea that) one day it may get better.  That's what keeps us really human, I think.  It's those people that allow me to get out of bed and inspire me to write."

Baca's life is the topic of the 2014 documentary film "A Place to Stand."  (link to trailer)

In the audio feature above, Baca reads a portion of a poem from his collection "Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande."

(Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado, 1930 - 2004, was a seminal Chicano poet based in Denver and prolific in the late 1960s and 1970s.  He taught for 17 years at then-Metropolitan State College.)