Title Feeding the Roots of Self-Expression and Freedom
Author Jimmy Santiago Baca, Kym Sheehan, Denise VanBriggle
ISBN 9780807759554
List price USD 26.95
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 144
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Teachers College Press (Eurospan Group)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
About the book Send Enquiry


“This book offers a way, a path, to follow the road to freedom from despair. Are you willing to take that journey? Be brave. Be resolute. Be a resistance fighter for your freedom and the freedom of others. If you will do the work here offered, you will be these things, and the world will look different because you will have made it different.”

—From the Foreword by Rex L. Veeder, professor, Department of English, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota


“Kym and Denise provide tremendous support for the type of writing Jimmy teaches in his workshops. As you become comfortable and more familiar with the material, I encourage you to be creative and take advantage of the events that come up in the lives of your students.”

—From the Afterword by Diane Torres-Velásquez, University of New Mexico


“What a remarkable gift this book is! Using Jimmy Santiago Baca’s poignant poetry and prose from prison as a centerpiece, the authors have created an invaluable resource for educators who hope to connect students to the profound themes of social justice, personal journey, and the resilience of the human spirit. I can’t wait to use this volume with all of my students, both free and incarcerated.”

Deborah Appleman, Carleton College, author of Critical Encounters in High School English: Literary Theory to Secondary Students


This curriculum-based collection of lesson plans is designed to build student confidence for articulating their unique ideas and sensibilities about the world through literary expression.

For this book, Jimmy Santiago Baca, one of the foremost poets in America today, collaborates with two National Writing Project Fellows and literacy professionals, Kym Sheehan and Denise VanBriggle. Together they present a teaching tool that uses poems from Baca’s incarceration as a young man, along with curricular activities and probing questions crafted to help students heal through writing. Each exercise reinforces the theme that a strong grasp of self-esteem borne from unique expression lends itself to the student enjoying day-to-day life at the highest creative and fulfilling level.

Book Features:

  • Draws on the extraordinary life and career of Jimmy Santiago Baca, who came to write poetry in prison and now has 28 works in print, ranging from a feature movie Blood In Blood Out to his bestselling memoir A Place to Stand.
  • Based on the authors’ combined experience of facilitating hundreds of writing workshops.
  • Offers field-tested recommendations to help educators inspire and fortify students suffering from doubt or damaged self-esteem.
  • Includes detailed descriptions, exercises, and sample poetry to assist teachers and students in the writing process.




Coming Into Language

Making the Rounds

Feeding the Roots of Self-Expression and Freedom

Chapter 1. Dehumanization Process • The Price is Never Too High • They Are Humans • Depersonalization: Steps 1, 2, & 3 • Waking Up in Prison • My Inability to “Adhere” • Letters Come to Prison • A Life of Chance • It’s Not What I Want But What Must Be • Little Difference • Life •

Chapter 2. Journeying Inward • I Stand Confused • This Hatred • The Guards, Judge, & Society • Shake Down • Police (Huda) • Loneliness • Freedom Is Mine • Paranoia • Prison in the Desert • I Am Standing in Front of a Brute • I Sat by the Big Gates of Prison • Around Here • Riot • Everyday • Before I Sleep

Chapter 3. Illuminating Outward • History • All Day • I Have Asked and Did Not Receive • In Pain • My Experience • The Little Playground I See • Silver Water Tower • I Live in Broken Pieces of Myself • I Look Around Me • In Prison • Looking • The Push Inward • A Poem for Me in Prison • So Blind and Led by the Heat Within • There Is No Message • Home • Who Will Give Me Eyes • So, Lovely Lady • My Ears • To Be Worth Something • That Time You Left • Padre

Chapter 4. Rehumanization Process • Pushed Into a Corner • Little Sparrow • Early Morning • To This Hour • The Morning • In My Isolation • Changes • No Prison Can Keep Me from You • Winter Morning • Day Is Beauty • When You Look at the Rain • I Keep Thinking How Beautifying Life Is

Cross-Curricular Connections

Sheehan & VanBriggle: On a Personal Note

Afterword/Diane Torres-Velasquez

About the Authors

How to Get Involved

Cited References

Photograph Credits

About the Authors:

Jimmy Santiago Baca is an award-winning American poet, novelist, screenwriter, and educator. He is the winner of The International Prize for his memoir, A Place to Stand, which is also a film.

Kym Sheehan is an educator with classroom, curriculum, and media expertise. She is a member of the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project and writes for Voices in the Middle.

Denise VanBriggle is a poet, educator, curriculum specialist, National Writing Project teacher-consultant, and an official visitor for The Pennsylvania Prison Society.

Target Audience:

This book is intended for students and academicians of Education.


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