Stories tagged: poetry

Women On the Inside
by Rachel Williams

This article comes from a program, called Women on the Inside, made up of a series of classes and workshops that took place in a Iowa Correctional Institution for women. Alongside long excerpts of her students’ work, Crane-Williams discusses the silencing of women in prison.

 personal-narrative  poetry  programs-in-prison

The Fire Inside
by California Coalition for Women Prisoners

The Fire Inside is a series of writings put together by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners as a quarterly newsletter. The newsletters feature writing by Charisse Shumate, Patricia Elaine Mason, Linda Field, N. Duran, Linda Evans, Debi Zuver, Theresa Cruz, Danielle Metz, Cynthia Russaw, Marilyn Buck, Anna Bell, Dylcia Pagan, Alicia Rodriguez, Ida Luz Rodriguez, Alejandrina Torres, Carmen Valentin, Laura Whitehorn, Susan Crane, and Silvia Baraldini. These letters, essays, poems, stories, and other writings are written by women inside prisons, to try and connect and break down the walls that the prison system creates between the outside world and inside the Prison Industrial Complex.

 community  personal-narrative  poetry

Consider This: Prison Love, Do you love me? Do you really?
by Deborah Nicholls

Deborah Nicholls explains the meaning of love in prison.


Consider This and That
by Deborah Nicholls

Deborah Nicholls shares her anecdotes for life in prison through a series of stories.


The Day My Mother Was Sent Away
by Wenona Thompson

In this poem, Thompson discusses her feelings about her mother’s incarceration.

 children-of-prisoners  personal-narrative  poetry

Mother's Day Rally Letters

A series of letters, poems, and notes written by the children of prisoners. Most are directed to their parents.

 children-of-prisoners  personal-narrative  poetry

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

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

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

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

Life's Many Journeys
by Tracy

In this poem, Tracy tells about her life journey.


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

Harsh Reality
by Dawn Harding

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

 personal-narrative  poetry

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

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


Confinement After Midnight
by Deanna Land

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

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