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The Lucia Poems: Breaking Bread with the Darkness II

114 pages1 hour


American Book Award-winning poet Jimmy Santiago Baca endured decades in the penal system before becoming a renowned poet and a father. In these collections of strikingly expressive verse, Baca celebrates parenthood and presents, with brutal honesty, the daily complexities of adult life in the age of 9/11 and the Iraq War. This ex-convict, an essential voice in world poetry, chronicles the changes that envelop him upon the arrival of two of his children, Lucia and Esai. After “twenty-five years in the system, brutal, corrupt, hate-filled, and frenzied with violence . . . beatings, shock-therapy, abandonment, terror, death threats, stabbings,” he refuses to give in to evil and despair.

Recalling the works of other poets who passed through the horrors of extreme experience—Nazim Hikmet, Paul Celan, Joseph Brodsky, Alexander Wat, Otto René Castillo, and a host of others—The Lucia Poems and The Esai Poems give poignant acknowledgement to one generation’s failings and pass on humane advice to the next. Taken together as Breaking Bread with the Darkness, these two collections offer a poetic primer for paternity, and a model for teaching the young history, politics, spirituality, and survival.

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