The Face


By Jimmy Santiago Baca

cover image of The Face

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How much of our past does our face betray? What future fortune can you read in the lines and skin? What trace is left by other lips and fingers and fists? In this beautiful, boisterous account, by turns soul-searching and erotic, acclaimed Chicano and Native-American poet Jimmy Santiago Baca reveals the story of his life as told through his face. An orphan, a runaway, and an inmate in a maximum-security prison before he became a world-renowned writer, Baca's life has been touched with rapture and despair, passion and purgatory. "In my eagerness to thrust forth and excel in life," Baca writes, "I found fame in all the wrong places."

Presented by Restless Books as part of an ongoing series of succinct essays featuring some of the world's most distinctive voices, this installment of The Face is Baca's meditation on the different faces we show the world, and the ways in which the world marks us with its joys and sorrows. With echoes of Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda, Baca speaks for a people alienated by history, in search of their own recognizable faces. The Face is the record of a lasting quest for self-recognition by one of our most distinguished poets.

The Face