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Durham Literacy's 3rd Annual Author Event Featuring Jimmy Santiago Baca


The Durham Literacy Center is excited to present a special event with poet Jimmy Santiago Baca on November 2, 2019! 

Internationally renowned poet Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, in 1952. Abandoned by his parents at the age of two, he lived with one of his grandmothers for several years before being placed in an orphanage. He wound up living on the streets, and at the age of twenty-one he was convicted on charges of drug possession and incarcerated. Baca served six and a half years in prison, during which he taught himself to read and write and began to compose poetry. He sold these poems to fellow inmates in exchange for cigarettes. A fellow inmate convinced him to submit some of his poems to the magazine Mother Jones, then edited by Denise Levertov. Levertov printed Baca's poems and began corresponding with him, eventually finding a publisher for his first book. 

Immigrants in Our Own Land, Baca's first major collection, was highly praised. In 1987, his semi-autobiographical minor epic in verse, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley, received the American Book Award for poetry, bringing Baca international acclaim and, in 1989, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature. A self-styled "poet of the people," Baca conducts writing workshops with children and adults at countless elementary, junior high and high schools, colleges, universities, reservations, barrio community centers, white ghettos, housing projects, correctional facilities and prisons from coast to coast. His most recent book, When I Walk Through That Door, I Am, portrays the experience of an immigrant mother facing family separation, abuse, and ICE raids on the Southern border.

"Jimmy Santiago Baca is a voice of Chicano survival in a country that has too often marginalized Chicanos and other Latinos," said Mario T. García, professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies and of history at UCSB. Poet Denise Levertov said “Baca writes with unconcealed passion and manifests both an intense lyricism and that transformative vision which perceives the mythical and archetypal significance of life events.”

This event will be moderated by local author Richard Krawiec. Richard is the author of 4 novels, 2 in the US and 2 in France, a short story collection, 3 books of poetry, and two children's books. His poetry, fiction, feature articles, and plays have appeared in commercial and literary publications throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. His textbook, An Invitation to Write, was considered in the 1990s to be one of the more important guides on how to facilitate writing with adult learners in literacy classes and elsewhere. It was used in over 30 countries. He has offered training workshops for the community college system, as well as literacy councils in Durham, Orange and Wake county. Richard teaches writing at UNC-Chapel Hill and has taught in homeless shelters, housing projects, women’s centers, and prisons, including Death Row, as well as at various universities, colleges, and high schools. In addition, he is the founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active Press, which uses part of the proceeds from all sales to fund community initiatives.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, November 2, 2019 (VIP reception, including book signing, at 5:30 p.m.) 


Where: Levin Jewish Community Center, 1937 W Cornwallis Rd, Durham, NC 27705


Tickets: $25 General Admission, $10 Students, $100 VIP (including pre-event reception & complimentary book). All proceeds benefit Durham Literacy Center.

Books will be available for sale and signing following the event.

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Sponsored By:
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Sheila and Robert Breitweiser, Jr.
Jane Williams and Robert Kalthoff
Gwendolyn Weaver
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