Sometimes The Bad is Really The Good
Do readers believe that any one person can turn their life into something beautiful, even when all they have seen in their life is ugly? Based on this non-fiction poem the narrator finally realized his life wasn’t as bad as it could be. In Baca’s “Cloudy day,” readers find a speaker very attuned to the outer world while being incarcerated. Born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age 13, it was after Baca was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison that he began to turn his life around: Jimmy learned to read and write and unearthed a voracious passion for poetry. During a fateful conflict with another inmate, the speaker was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca. Baca then made a choice that would alter his destiny. Instead of becoming a hardened criminal, the narrator emerged from prison a writer. Baca sent three of his poems to Denise Levertov. Who is the poetry editor of Mother Jones. The poems were published and became part of Immigrants in Our Own Land. Which was then published in 1979. That was also the year Baca was released from prison. Baca also earned his GED later that same year. Baca is also the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award, and for his memoir, A Place to Stand, the prestigious International Award. In 2006 Baca also won the Cornelius P. Turner Award. Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship. His themes include American Southwest barrios, addiction, injustice, education, community, love and beyond. A cloudy day doesn’t have to be a day that is depressing, or gloomy. As the reader when first reading Baca’s biography it would be assumed the title may have had something to do with a specific day he remembers. Maybe even a day that does not give him good memories. The...
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