Books

SILENT, WE SIT

EMILY DALGO


“Emily Dalgo’s Silent, We Sit is an inspiring debut collection that showcases her masterful prose and wise reflection. With maturity beyond her years, she remarks on the everyday emotions that cripple and inspire us in poems like “Apathy” and “Afterlife.”  Through her wide-ranging narrative voices, Dalgo skillfully paints a picture of the lofty visions of a character’s unrealized future juxtaposed with the humble reality of life.  The audience will turn the final page knowing that Dalgo has successfully elevated our perception of humanity.”


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BLACK BONE

ALEXA MARIE KELLY


“Alexa Marie Kelly’s new book of poems puts to rest any delusions about race in America, especially with respect to the criminal justice system. She masters the difficult challenge of capturing imprisonment, including executions and suicides, from an exclusively free perspective. Few outsiders can understand a life in which the man or woman never feels safe anywhere, but Kelly eloquently describes it: “The caged heart has no mornings.” Black Bone is disturbing but also necessary if this country is ever to move into a post-racial society and leave behind the perpetual long, dark night of a criminal justice system that values money and power over the individual. It is a tonic to the misinformation one hears during the unending election cycles and a volume that should be on any thinking person’s reading list.”


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AN ELEGY FOR OLD TERRORS

ZOÉ ORFANOS


“This collection is indeed an elegy, one that, in lush, sensual tones, bids farewell to old terrors through a rare and revealing embrace of the world one encounters. It is also a manual for thoughtful living that will call to the reader often and should be kept close at hand to save time searching the bookshelves.”


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UP THE RIVER

CHANDRA BOZELKO


“Chandra Bozelko’s Up the River Anthology projects many voices. But it is Bozelko’s voice that harmonizes the discordant and disconcerting fragments of our criminal justice system. She examines her life as a prison inmate in this riveting poetry collection. Up the River presents a deadly theater. Bozelko writes about personal, damning, damaging experiences through the eyes of the supporting players of prison life. Her characters act out their roles on this rigid, often tyrannical stage. Full of heart, Bozelko’s collection leaves us to wonder not, what did she do? but rather, what have we done?”


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DISTANT THUNDER

CHARLES HUCKELBURY


“Charles Huckelbury’s collection of poems, Distant Thunder, reminds us all of the duality of life with which human beings are both blessed and cursed. His renderings of life’s core dialectics—pain and recovery, faith and despair, memory and future—point the way to a salvation that rises above the prison walls that confine the human spirit. Huckelbury’s Distant Thunder is a gift to every reader who seeks the dawn beyond the darkest of nights.”


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ENCLOSURES

SHIRIN KARIMI


“In this enthralling book of poetry, Enclosures, Shirin Karimi explores suffering and loss among the ill and imprisoned, bringing us to the heart of what it means to be human: in the face of adversity we can either be crushed by the weight of our lives or we can become, if only for a moment, ‘Weightless, like astronauts or angels.” With wisdom and compassion beyond her years, Karimi shows us, with aching beauty, the resiliency of the human spirit in times of great loss.”


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A ZOO NEAR YOU

ROBERT JOHNSON


“As I was reading A Zoo Near You, Emily Dickinson’s voice echoed in the background: ‘If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Indeed, this is a collection of poetry – full of irony and passion – that will blow off the top of your head and leave you gasping for breath. A master at satire, Robert Johnson (with a chorus of other contributors) takes us on a journey into the ‘belly of the beast’ of our nation’s prisons and shows us how justice and compassion can be as elusive and imaginary as the Loch Ness Monster.”


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ORIGAMI HEART

ERIN GEORGE


“Erin George’s Origami Heart: Poems by a Woman Doing Life, is intimate, courageous, and lyrical. The ‘woman doing life’ in Erin George’s stunning first collection is at once a prisoner serving a life sentence and a woman continuing to weave the complex web of severed and ongoing relations that is her life. From the opening, title poem, wrenching in its restraint, George locates the true horror of imprisonment in a mother’s separation from her children. As she folds and unfolds the ‘origami heart’ of her daughter’s much-read letter, the connection between them, like the creases in the paper, is ‘soft, threatening severance, / but still holding.’ Through these poems of memory and longing, Erin George struggles to hold on.”


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TALES FROM THE PURPLE PENGUIN

CHARLES HUCKELBURY


“We have found our modern day Chaucer in the hands of the poet Charles Huckelbury! Here ‘the baddest bouncer in the / baddest bar’ – Little David, part medieval knight, part ‘Jesse goddamn James,’ part ‘Leonidas before the Persians’ – narrates a series of tales that will leave you laughing and weeping at the spectacle of humanity in all its guises, from bikers to castaways, from strippers to real estate salesmen, from queens to dope fiends. Huckelbury finds poetry in the most surprising of places, and ultimately reminds us how the ‘ache’ of loss keeps us searching for beauty and meaning.”


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BURNT OFFERINGS

ROBERT JOHNSON


“Burnt Offerings is a book of original poems by a distinguished criminologist. The book takes the reader on what one male prisoner called ‘an elegiac journey from crime to arrest to confession to trial and ultimately to prison’ (Charles Huckelbury, State Prison for Men, Concord, New Hampshire). ‘Like a surgeon,’ states Erin George, a woman doing time in prison, ‘Johnson deftly exposes the sepsis that is the penal system of our ostensibly progressive society.” And like nothing before it, Burnt Offerings opens “a window onto an alien, forbidding landscape… We are brought into the world of concertina wire and steel, the world of broken men and women longing for human touch and kindness with such power that we are forced to see and feel what Americans have chosen to ignore far too long: we are warehousing humans behind those walls… Burnt Offerings will not be forgotten.”


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