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The Transformative Power of Poetry: An Evening with Jimmy Santiago Baca

November 5, 2008

The New Mexico Humanities Council will present a free evening of film and talk with New Mexico’s own renowned poet and author, Jimmy Santiago Baca.

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Friday, November 14

The event will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque.

Admission is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. To reserve your tickets please call the NMHC office at (505) 277-3705 or email nmhc@nmhum.org.

Baca will screen two documentary films he produced and directed and afterwards share inspiring, personal stories about leading writing workshops in prisons, detention centers, and schools for at-risk youth. The audience will have the opportunity to dialogue with Mr. Baca about the healing power of expressive writing, as captured in the films, and its life transforming potential.

A native of New Mexico, Jimmy Santiago Baca was orphaned at age 7 and living on the streets by age 13. At age 22 he entered a maximum security prison as an illiterate drug dealer and emerged 5 years later a self-taught writer. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, novels, short stories, and a memoir, A Place to Stand, which earned him the prestigious International Book Award. He was also honored with the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award, and the Cornelius P. Turner Award.

Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship. In 2005 he founded Cedar Tree, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives through conducting writing workshops in deprived communities, prisons, detention centers, and schools for at-risk youth. Cedar Tree, Inc. also works to provide scholarships, internships, advocacy, writing anthologies, educational aids, and book drives and donations.

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