Prison poetry is part of a rich and vibrant literary movement. The Prison Poetry Workshop team wants to share the multimedia materials folks have shared with us as we have traveled the country and combed our nation's archives. From handwritten poems to old video footage from homemovie collections we share the power and beauty of prison poetry as we dig deeper into each of the stories we cover or share something that couldn't make it into the series.
PPW went to the amazing D.C. venue Bus Boys and Poets and recorded Free Minds Book Club performing their work along with with writer and former NBA basketball player Etan Thomas. The room was packed and the response felt like a homecoming.
Every month Free Minds hosts a Write Night where community members in D.C. gather to provide feedback on the writing of their Book Club members still incarcerated. Poems are read and multiple comments are written onto each poem and then mailed by to the writer.
PWP was in Washington, DC learning about the most incredible book club:"Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop: Free Minds uses books and creative writing to empower young inmates to transform their lives."
We visited both Etheridge Knight's archival collections at both the University of Toledo and Butler University and looked through his papers. The publication "Poems from Prison" by Broadside Press was a turning point in Knight's life as a poet.
We headed up to Indianapolis to discover Etheridge Knight's story and found a rich community of poets, jazz musicians, and artists where still today keep arts alive and kicking. Carl Hines, poet and jazz musician, let us spend a morning listening to him play and recorded some poems for us.