Authors Speak Series: Behold the power of writing

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By Gabriel Vasquez

The transformational power of poetry and literature, soaked with imagery of the rural Southwest and spattered with episodes from the maelstrom of urban life, is perhaps what best describes the Jimmy Santiago Baca experience.

Baca, a nationally distinguished Chicano writer and poet with several books, poetry collections and screenplays to his name, will be at Mesa Public Library Thursday to discuss and read a selection of his life’s works, as part of the library’s monthly “Authors Speak Series.”

“Everything is unique about the Chicano experience,” Baca said. “People are not taught that in school.”

Baca, a native New Mexican, writes about themes akin to the barrios, drug addiction, social injustice, community, ancestry, family units and immigration issues that permeate the Chicano culture.

“They (Chicanos) come from the bloodline of Mexico, but have a very different cultural and political experience,” he said. “More importantly, it (Chicano culture) has become infused with the beauty of Mexican culture.”

Baca’s poetry is a vibrant, richly lyrical testament to his early life as a pariah in American society dealing with the rage of social injustice, the regeneration of self and the quest for spiritual empowerment.

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