Posts Tagged ‘Poetic Justice’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I have volunteered to write for Poetic Justice: Distant Learning.

Poetic Justice’s mission is to offer restorative writing and creative arts programs to individuals who are incarcerated in women’s prisons and jails.

Our vision is to offer opportunities for healing and growth by holding space to process trauma and rewrite personal narratives to transform the story of incarceration.

Poetic Justice.org

This week’s writing prompt was to write about a favorite room. The prompt involved comparing objects in the room with animals. For me, I wrote about the animals in the room. I read a quote from an article about Ukrainian refugees in National Geographic. The quote became interspersed into my poem. I will send this poem to my writing partner and hope for a response. I haven’t heard from her yet, but I am assured that I should keep writing anyway.

The Living Room

“We don’t need much,” said one refugee Lidiya Ivanenko. “A warm corner is enough.” 

A warm corner is enough,
where a red fleece blanket
with holes the dog chewed
covers my bare legs. This warm space
is my respite
from a war-torn world,
from sound of sirens,
from calling chores.

The white cat plays in the corner
jumping for elephant ear leaves.
She darts away like lightning
then back in a flash
kneading the blanket
purring, bunting my hand. 

We don’t need much.
We long for safety,
for the warmth of a room
that says you belong here. 

Margaret Simon, draft 2022
Sleeping Charlie

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I was first introduced to Poetic Justice by Sarah Donovan at her site Ethical ELA in July, 2020.

Poetic Justice offers restorative writing and creative arts programs to women who are incarcerated. Since 2014, they have been offering classes in jails and detention facilities that engage in self-reflective, therapeutic writing: “By using poetry, women who have never written in their lives find the confidence to write from their hearts.” (They were featured on CNN Heroes.)

Sarah Donovan, Ethical ELA

Because of the pandemic, Poetic Justice could no longer go into prisons and teach the writing workshops, but that didn’t stop them. Now they have more than 150 inmates and volunteers writing poetry and letters to each other. I volunteered to be a writing partner and am now in my third round of writing.

I believe in the power of poetry to heal. My writing partner, Kwain, has solidified that belief for me in the 8 months that we have been writing to each other. As with any deeply personal project, it has taken a while for her to trust me with her writing. I feel it is a privilege to receive it. This month we exchanged I am From poems.

I am From

I am from the homemade Jalapeño skillet cornbread
with pig intestines known as chitlins.
I am from the Dominoes playing as
the adults yell out foul words
as the odor of cigarettes corrupt the air of the room.
I am from Earth, Wind, and Fire, R Kelly and soul music.
I am from the state flower BlueBonnet,
Texas Longhorn. 
I am from the small church known as Immanuel Baptist Church
where I got saved when I was 9 years old. 
I am from a fatherless home.
I am from being Independent is a must
because all I had was my mom.
I am from “Everything is bigger”.
I am from Amarillo, Texas.

Kwain Monroe

The writing I receive from Kwain comes as scans of notebook pages. I write to her through a paid service (30 cents per letter).

If you are interested in this project, consider a donation. $25 can sponsor one inmate’s participation and supplies. Poetic Justice website.

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