April 5, 2002

Cal State San Marcos Theatre Professor Stages Poetry of Award-winning Latino Writer

With California State University San Marcos students and local community actors, Professor Marcos Martinez is bringing to the stage the words of Latino poet Jimmy Santiago Baca in a show that Martinez hopes will inspire young students to follow their creative dreams.

The performance of “Martín,” will run April 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27, beginning at 8 p.m., at the Cal State San Marcos Visual and Performing Arts Annex.

On a simple stage, with photos of New Mexico lighting the background, students and community actors will read the first of two narrative poems from Baca’s Martín & Meditations on the South Valley (New Directions Paperback, 1987).

According to Martinez, a professor of theatre at Cal State San Marcos and director of the performance, “This poem is about facing your life experiences, whatever they may be, and turning negative experiences into positive results. It’s about overcoming adversity, building a family, and making decisions that move your life forward.” The poem tells the story of a young Latino man’s life as he seeks love and a positive existence following a childhood of abuse and abandonment.

Martinez chose Martín for this community outreach project because of the story’s themes and what they might mean to young students, especially Latinos, in the audience. “Works of this caliber that deal with the Chicano experience are limited. If there are parents or teachers that wish to inspire young Latino students to get into writing, I think this would be the perfect production.”

Baca was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1952. A winner of the Pushcart Prize and the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, he has been called an heir to Pablo Neruda and one of the best poets in America today. But, at the age of 21 he was illiterate and in prison for selling drugs. Five years later, he emerged from prison with a passion for reading and writing poetry. He is the author of books of poetry, scripts, productions and a memoir of his life, A Place to Stand. He conducts writing workshops with children and adults at schools, universities, reservations, barrio community centers, housing projects and prisons across the country.

Admission is a $5 donation to the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Tickets will be sold at the door. The Visual and Performing Arts Annex is located near the campus at 441 La Moree, in San Marcos. For more information, contact the Visual and Performing Arts Program at 750 4137.

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