Happy Birthday, Jimmy Santiago Baca, born 2 January 1952
- Every poem is an infant laboured into birth and I am drenched with sweating effort, tired from the pain and hurt of being a man, in the poem I transform myself into a woman.
- I sat back in my wooden chair as they signed the paperwork and stared down at the arm rests, studying the various layers of paint, the chips and cracks. How many hands had gripped them? I wondered. What lives were attached to those hands, what dreams were shattered, what sorrows were they trying to squeeze out of their souls?
- I culled poetry from odours, sounds, faces, and ordinary events occurring around me. Breezes bulged me as if I were cloth; sounds nicked their marks on my nerves; objects made impressions on my sight as if in clay. There, in the soft language, life centred and ground itself in me and I was flowing with the grain of the universe. Language placed my life experiences in a new context, freeing me for the moment to become with air as air, with clouds as clouds, from which new associations arose to engage me in present life in a more purposeful way.
Jimmy Santiago Baca is an American poet and writer of Apache and Chicano descent. In addition to over a dozen books of poetry, which include Healing Earthquakes, Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande, and Spring Poems Along the Rio Grande, he has published memoirs, essays, stories, and a screenplay, Bound by Honour, which was made into a film directed by Taylor Hackford.
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