The night I was there, one particular artist came in loud, shouting at Carlson over the din of cuffs and rusty hinges, motioning him to take the stack of papers he had pressed to his body with his left elbow.
One of my visits to the prison this past year was a mixed bag. There were powerful moments and a few well-crafted texts. There was also a heavy energy in all three classrooms. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. I could see that those who were showing up, pens in hand, where […]
By grace and serendipity I recently had the chance to visit the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, Germany. In looking through some of the color studies by Johannes Itten and Paul Klee I was shocked to discover something new to me—albeit embarrassingly elementary—about how colors work in conversation with each other. I realize that in sharing […]
Last time I was teaching at the prison, the writer I was working with showed me a meticulous list of the 98 poems he had written. “All my poems are dark,” he said. He read me three of the ones he had gotten published; they traced the scars on his body and mind through an […]
In my last ALT/space post I wrote about the young musician who questioned the open-ended teaching style that I use with incarcerated writers. I wrote the post, sent it in, felt uneasy about how my story as a teacher was tangled with the intimate witnessing of another man’s tears, argued with myself over the breach […]
At the prison where I am a guest TA, writing classes exist (for the moment) through two different administrative/funding streams – federally mandated mental health services and inmate self-help programs. Six months ago, Jim Carlson, the recreational therapist at CSP-Sac who is also my escort, suggested that we try to add a writing group for […]