Color Theory for Writing Teachers | Anna Plemons

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 […]

The Teacher’s Chair | Anna Plemons

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 […]

Working in Impossible Places | Anna Plemons

This past March, I met with Spoon Jackson at the far end of the cellblock dining hall.  Jim Carlson, the artist facilitator turned recreational therapist (who established the Arts in Corrections program at CSP-Sac) had called-and-knocked his way up the chain of command to authorize the meeting.  I had been in the cellblock during a […]

The Brave Six | Spoon Jackson

Lockdown continues, going on six months now, so I don’t have my writing classes to teach. Fortunately, Professor Tom Kerr, who teaches writing at Ithaca College in New York, contacted me to do the Brave Six project with a new batch of young students at his school. Tom and I first orchestrated this essay/letter correspondence […]

Moving Past Hostile Classes | Spoon Jackson

In 1988, after I performed Pozzo in Waiting for Godot before international audiences at San Quentin State Prison, my confidence and belief in myself as a poet, artist and human being rose and flowed with inspiration like a thawing creek in spring.  I wanted to share openly and freely whatever gifts I have as an […]

Burning the Box: A Teacher Does Her Homework I Emma Bolden

Where are you going, where have you been: though they’re widely known as the title of a harrowing short story by Joyce Carol Oates, those eight words describe exactly what I want my students to think about in their last assignment for my class, the self-reflection: where they have been as writers and where they […]