Jimmy Santiago Baca's brilliantly received memoir, A Place to Stand, earned him the prestigious International Prize and offered a keyhole view into the brutal personal history that shaped -- and continues to inform -- his raw, incisive voice. In C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans, he trains his hallmark lyrical intensity on the dark underbelly of addiction and takes us on an unforgettable guided tour of the darkest corners of a brutal, unjust world. C-Train is a heartstopping series of episodes from the life of Dream-boy, a young man who finds himself seduced, and later enslaved, by the siren song of cocaine. Part paean to the delicious power of intoxication, part lament for those helplessly under its power, C-Train is a ride its hero, and the reader, struggle to get off. In Thirteen Mexicans, Baca writes of the Chicano community and the gulf between the American dream and American reality. In searing, elegiac vignettes he portrays the raw beauty of life in the barrio and the surreal, stomach-turning moment when people of color must confront how they are reflected in the distorted mirror of white society. Giving voice to the dispossessed and the disenfranchised, Baca illuminates the most unforgiving landscapes; yet his is a vision tempered by a searching hopefulness that brings these collections inching toward redemption. Baca's latest achievement will confirm his place as one of the nation's leading poets, a poet whose words "heal, inspire, and elicit the earthly response of love" (Garrett Hongo). "[Baca] writes with ... an intense lyricism and that transformative vision which perceives the mythic and archetypal significance of life-events." -- Denise Levertov
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Published December 1, 2007
by Grove Press.
Literature & Fiction.