25th out of 214 books — 57 voters
Martín & Meditations on the South Valley
Fiercely moving, the two long narrative poems of Martin & Meditations on the South Valley revolve around the semi-autobiographical figure of Martin, a mestizo or "detribalized Apache." Abandoned as a child and a long time on the hard path to building his own family, Martin at last finds his home in the stubborn and beautiful world of the barrio. Jimmy Santiago Baca "wr...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published November 1st 1987 by New Directions Publishing Corporation
(first published January 1st 1987)
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This book lives like a leafed box of live cultured bacteria on the pages which Jimmy has preciously penned his existence. He's a survivor, a poet, a man and a testament that people do at times transcend beyond their abandonment. These words are alive and are viewable for the reader looking to witness the poetic testimony of one writing force named Jimmy Santiago Baca.
Two interrelated books of narrative poetry. The first, semi-autobigraphical is Santiago-Baca at his absoloute best, tracking the life of a "detribalized Indian"/Chicano boy abandoned by his parents, putting his life back together piece by piece. The second, good but not on quiet the same level, picks up the protagonist following the burning of the house he'd built as symbol of his rebuilt life--mostly a gallery of portraits of life in the Southwest. Both excellent, Martin absolutely essential.
This was a very enjoyable book, and I wish more authors attempted to write in this poetic manner. It was an easy read, yet insightful and beautiful. The language was so descriptive, it sometimes shocked and other times awed me. The story is just humbling. I don't want to be a spoiler so I am going to leave my review at that. I look forward to reading other similar works.
While I was in school in Oregon we watched a video of this author reading his poetry. It was about the need for men to cry, which doesn't strike me now as anything to write home about. But I did write home, that very day, and told my Ma: "Mama, I'm into Baca."
One of my favorite collections of wholly unique poetry. It really captures the southwest, the poverty, the aimlessness, and the transcendent possibilities of existence - unlikely bedfellows, to be sure, but that's why the book is so awesome...
Jimmy Santiago Baca of Apache and Chicano descent is an American poet and writer.More about Jimmy Santiago Baca...