Jimmy Santiago Baca | The Sun Magazine

Jimmy Santiago Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has written several books of poetry and received numerous awards, including the National Endowment of Poetry Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the American Book Award. His latest book, A Place to Stand (Grove Press), is a memoir about his childhood and his years in prison.

— From December 2002
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

A Place To Stand

It was no surprise that the judge had given me the harshest sentence allowed by law. The nuns had always said I was a bad boy, and here was the judge making the same condemnation. I was sure I was convicted mostly because of who I was, expunged from a society that didn’t want people like me in it.

December 2002

Tales From Inside

As Manny walked he was overwhelmed by the delicate, inviolable crown of the stars. Freedom was a feather brushed and swept across the heavens, now sweeping his tongue, his nostrils, his lungs. There was nothing more he needed. 

September 1980

Tales From Inside

Down here was only blankness — as if someone had taken the eyes and turned them around, so only the whites were showing, and that whiteness was what reflected down here to the mind’s screen.

October 1979
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Nucler Energy — I’m Against The Stuff

Pretend that this is a movie. You are seeing two men create a curl of dust as they drive in a pick-up down a dirt road. The one driving is old, his features molded like leather, worn and stretched by a hard working foot.

August 1979
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


I cannot write how it was. The world shifted me too fast with each event passing before me, inflicting my nerves with flash-bulb rapidity. I was quietly startled at the fresh novelty. Numb still to the fact I was leaving, disbelieving, an embryo in limbo, sins forgiven, the timelessness suddenly and violently meaning something concrete.

February 1979
What Do You Think? We love getting letters to the editor for our Correspondence section.
Has something we published moved you? Fired you up? Did we miss the mark?
Send A Letter