World of the Forgotten
by Tammica L. Summers

Summers shares her reflection on life in prison.

 prison-life  prison-industrial-complex

Excerpts from 'Release: Women in prison write about self-harm and healing'
by Leah Thorn

This book was written for you. Of course, I don’t know who you are and the women who wrote the poems and life stories in this book don’t know you personally. But we decided it was important to share what some women have thought and felt about their lives and about self-harm, in the hope that their experiences will mean something to you. And whatever your relationship to self-harm might be, maybe these women’s words will encourage you to write your own story.Writing can be a good way to explore, and show, what’s going on inside of you. As Anne-Marie, one of the poets in this book, told me, ‘Writing helps me make sense of my emotions, helps me understand how I feel. It helps me communicate and offload’. And as Anne Frank* wrote in her diary, ‘Paper is more patient than people’. The piece of paper you write your thoughts on won’t tell you that you’re stupid, wrong, or ‘crazy’ and it won’t say, 'That didn’t happen' or 'You didn’t see that'.

With poetry, you can express your thoughts and release your feelings in a very few words. It can help you reach out and feel less alone. And because so many women have had the reality of their experiences denied or ignored, writing your life story can be a way of putting the record straight and taking charge of your life.

 gender  personal-narrative  poetry  prison-industrial-complex

Without Regret
by Tammica L. Summers

Summers lives her life without doubt and has hope for the future. endures the anguishing wait.

 personal-narrative  prison-life  reentry

Will She Ever Know My Name?
by Kebby Warner

In this poem Kebby tells a story of a mother losing her child through the system. A child she never got the chance to know.

 motherhood  poetry

by Chrissy DeStefano

I lost my son right out the hospital when he was born for being addicted to drugs. So because the father and I were addicted to drugs we started robbing people’s houses for money and etc. for the drugs. Now we lost both kids, one to the state and one to my parents, and we’re facing 3+ years in prison. There’s more to the story but this pretty much explains it. Thanks!

 creative-writing  family  personal-narrative  prison-life  substance-abuse

Who Decides
by Mary Moran

In this poem, Mary asks the hard questions who decides your justice, who decides your fate?

 abolition  creative-writing  poetry  prison-life

Where I'm From
by Heidi Lee Emmerton-Leathers

My poem is about my life, how it started, how it was and how it is now. To show that no matter what you can come back from the past. This poem was modeled after the original “Where I’m From” poem by George Ella Lyon.

 creative-writing  personal-narrative  poetry

by Heather Johnson

In this poem, Florida prisoner Heather Johnson reaches out to others, urging them to “break the silence” and speak out about their lives.


by Chrissy DeStefano

This poem is about being incarcerated and how you feel being locked up!

 poetry  prison-life

The World Within You
by Rebecca Seiber

I am held captive this moment in time but, one day, I’ll be free seeing to this rhyme.

 creative-writing  personal-narrative  poetry

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

This poem has been an inspiration for Deanna Lynd, an aspiring writer/journalist and survivor of the prison industry.

 creative-writing  poetry

Scrapes and Scars
by Dora Packard

This poem is about life's fight.

Ready to Go
by Tammica L. Summers

Summers shares her pain in waiting to be released from prison.

 health  personal-narrative  prison-life  reentry

by Melissa

I wrote this on a Sunday evening when visitation was over and the husband who abandoned me had not come.

 family  relationships

Not Knowing
by Shanna Lemiux-Taylor

This poem is about struggling in life and not knowing which way to go and if one day it will change.

My Sunrise
by Rhonda Leland

In this poem, Rhonda gives her dynamic view about prison life.

 poetry  prison-life

My Son’s Birthday
by Deanna Lynd

In this poem Deanna talks about her son whom she gave birth to while incarcerated. She speaks of the heartache and pain of being separated from your child at birth.

 creative-writing  poetry  prison-life

My Cell
by Melissa

I wrote this early in the morning sitting alone in my cell contemplating my sentence.

 creative-writing  personal-narrative  prison-life

Life's Many Journeys
by Tracy

In this poem, Tracy tells about her life journey.


Introduction to Poetry Book
by Sonya West

Introduction to a book of poetry about hope and faith.

by Denise Lopez

In this poem Denise talks about imprisonment and being free. Are we only imprisoned while incarcerated or is it in the mind.

 creative-writing  poetry  prison-life

by Sarah Libby

This is a poem Sarah Libby wrote while she was in jail.

Harsh Reality
by Dawn Harding

This poem is about Dawn’s personal experience while being incarcerated.

 personal-narrative  poetry

by Tammica L. Summers

Summers is getting closer to life on the outside of prison and she endures the anguishing wait.

 personal-narrative  prison-life  reentry

Feeling the Inside
by Rebecca Seiber

When it found truth was simply what was made of life. It doesn’t matter how it started or where it ends. It only matters that you refrain from disliking your won being and spirit. The command solution is to become materialistic, idolizing color, shape and size. Materialistic stamina becomes the utmost important factor of life when one cannot admire and respect their own being.

 creative-writing  personal-narrative  poetry

Devils Curse
by Dolores H. Stanton

When I’m sober, I’m caring, helpful, and nurturing; a genuinely good person I’m told. When I’m high, I become a creature, almost not human. I could care less about all the things that when sober I would never give up, lose or hurt. I constantly backpedal in life and it hurts badly. I believe anyone who has ever had an addiction understands what it’s like to do anything for their addiction. What I still struggle with is how my kids and family, that I will do anything for, aren’t enough to keep me sober? I will continue to dream and pray for a sober life. I will never give up trying, and hopefully breaking the “Devil’s curse” will be my happy ending.

Dehumanization Resistance
by Tammica L. Summers

Summers stays true to who she is in prison.

 mental-health  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


Day by Day
by Dora Packard

This is a poem about being locked up in jail.

Confinement After Midnight
by Deanna Lynd

In this poem Deanna talks about the confinements of prison life. She speaks on a personal level of doing her time. She is very creative in her description this is a very compelling poem.

 creative-writing  poetry  prison-life

Captured Voices Free Thoughts
by Stephen John Hartnett

Writings from The Poetry Workshop at the Colorado Women's Correctional Facility. Volume 8, Fall 2010.

Can’t I Have a Dream
by Sonya West

Everyone in this world has had some type of dream that they wished could come to reality. A dream that seems so real that you do everything in God's will to make it come true. Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream. Since he's had his, can I have mine.

Another Day Series
by Tammica L. Summers

In this series of poems, Summers describes everyday prison life from a personal point of view. Fifteen separate poems discuss different aspects of daily life inside the walls, covering a broad range of emotions.

 mental-health  personal-narrative  poetry  prison-life  prison-industrial-complex

Consider this... Quit Yelling at Statues!
by Deborah Nicholls

Nicholls continues her poetry series, Consider this writing about the challenges of forgiving yourself.

 creative-writing  mental-health  personal-narrative  poetry  prison-life

A Blessing of the Tongue
by Adalina Pineda

In this poem, Adalina gives her views of the death penalty.

 abolition  creative-writing  poetry