Marilyn Buck


On Tuesday, August 3, 2010, long-time political prisoner and acclaimed poet and translator Marilyn Buck, 62, passed peacefully at her home in Brooklyn, New York.

A few short weeks earlier, on July 15th, Marilyn had been released from the federal Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Carswell, Texas and paroled to New York City. Thanks to the efforts of her long-time friend and lawyer Jill Soffiyah Elijah, her release came several weeks before the date originally set for her release on parole, August 8th.

Marilyn served a total of 33 years of an 80-year prison sentence for politically motivated actions undertaken in support of self-determination and national liberation and in opposition to racial injustice and U.S. imperialism. Throughout her years in prison, Marilyn remained a steadfast supporter of fellow political prisoners and an advocate for the women with whom she was imprisoned. While incarcerated, Marilyn earned several educational degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts degrees in poetics. She published several books of poems including Rescue the Word (Friends of Marilyn Buck, 2001), Wild Poppies, original poetry by and for Marilyn Buck (audio CD, Freedom Archives, 2004), and the highly acclaimed State of Exile, by Cristina Peri Rossi and Marilyn Buck (City Lights, 2008). Her poetry and essays have been printed in a wide variety of journals and books. In recent years she was preparing a new collection of poetry, to be published in 2011 under the title Inside Shadows.

Marilyn became involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements and joined the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) during her college years at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley. In the following years she became an active supporter of the Puerto Rican, Native American and Black liberation struggles in this country. She was a consistent and outspoken advocate of liberation and equality for women.

Near the end of 2009, Marilyn was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Despite surgery and chemotherapy, treatment came too late to save her life.

To learn more about Marilyn visit Friends of Marilyn Buck at

2 submissions.

Prison Life: A Day
by Marilyn Buck

Marilyn Buck illustrates a prisoner’s determined efforts to reaffirm her own humanity in the face of constant indignities by describing one day of her own life in prison. Buck is a political prisoner serving eighty years in prison. She has been an active supporter of the Black Liberation movement and other struggles for self-determination.

 guard-prisoner-relations  personal-narrative  political-prisoners  prison-life

Dear Liz
by Marilyn Buck

talk of death, makes people nervous
tongues stutter
we are all dying every day
you told me you wanted to scream