John Phillip Santos

As part of its 2010 Day of the Dead Festival, California Center for the Arts, Escondido hosted journalist, producer, poet, and author John Phillip Santos for a reading of selections from his book of poems, his National Book Award nominated memoir, and its sequel.

Santos, whose work examines intersecting concerns of media, culture, and identity, was elected as the first Mexican-American Rhodes Scholar in 1979. He was a program officer at the Ford Foundation and has produced over forty broadcast documentaries on culture, religion, politics and spirituality for CBS News.

In his first family memoir, Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 1999, Santos reached back into time, space, and mythology to blend the story of one Mexican family – his father’s – with the soul of an entire people. In his second, 2010’s The Farthest Home is in an Empire of Fire, he tells of how another family – this time, his mother’s – erased and forgot over time their ancient origins in Spain. His first book of poems, Songs Older Than Any Known Singer, was published in 2007.

Day of the Dead Festival
John Phillip Santos at TEDxAustin