Jimmy Santiago Baca has won loads of awards for his writing—the Pushcart Prize, the National Poetry Award and the International Hispanic Heritage Award, just to name a few. But Baca didn’t learn to read and write in school. In fact, nobody taught him. He taught himself while serving time in prison as a teen.
Baca was released from prison in 1979. That same year, he got his GED and published his first book of poems, Immigrants in our Own Land. More than 30 years later, he's still going strong. Saturday, he'll be at Harold Washington Library to speak and read his work. But first, we'll sit down with Baca on Afternoon Shift on Friday to learn more about his journey from prison to poetry. Here's a video of Baca reading some of his earlier work.