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Renowned Poet Jimmy Santiago Baca Returns to OCU
Oklahoma City University will bring nationally renowned poet Jimmy Santiago Baca back to the metro area next week. Baca will speak to students, faculty and staff on campus Monday and Tuesday, and the university’s Fine Arts Institute will bring students from Millwood Schools to campus Wednesday for a workshop with Baca. A session from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday in Walker Center 151 at OCU is free to the public. Baca, who taught himself to read and write while incarcerated in a maximum security prison, also will lead several writing workshops at the Mabel Bassett Women’s Correctional Facility in McLoud next week. Baca, whose first workshop at the prison was overwhelmingly successful, plans to make a documentary of his workshop sessions with assistance from three filmmakers and OCU Moving Image Arts student Jacob Burns. OCU English student Ted Stoller will assist Baca. “Jimmy Baca will make an important impact on our local community in varied ways,” said Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature. “He is a model for servant leadership and is sure to bring great inspiration to our campus and our community.” Baca was born in New Mexico of Chicano and Apache decent. He was raised first by his grandmother and was later sent to an orphanage. Baca became a runaway at age 13 and was sentenced to five years in prison at age 21 when he began to turn his life around. In prison, as he learned to read and write, he found his passion for poetry. Like many Southwestern writers, Baca identifies with the land around him and the myths that are part of his culture. He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the National Poetry Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award and the prestigious International Award. Two of Baca’s most recent books are “The Importance of a Piece of Paper” and “Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande.” For more information, contact Winn at (405) 208-5472 or hwinn@okcu.edu.