Prisoner Express Poetry

From the very beginning of Prisoner Express, we have received poetry from prisoners. As we received more submissions we took the hint and began to feature prisoner poems in our newsletter. With the help of volunteers we have staged a number of public readings of prisoner poems, as well as conducted poetry contests for prisoners who wish to participate. Poetry provides a means where the prisoners we work with can freely express themselves. We invite you to read their writings and step into their world.

Click here to see the anthologies, and see recent posts below.

Poetry Anthology 25: Melancholy, Love, and Lessons by Kimberly V

March 18, 2022

Do you ever wonder what incarcerated individuals think about? Those mysterious thoughts are what I’ve been able to observe while constructing the 25th Poetry Anthology for Prisoner Express. When your day-to-day life is so controlled and mostly void of freedom and autonomy, you would expect it to be quite difficult to come up with creative…

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Poetry Spotlight: Rolf Rathmann

November 19, 2021

Lately, working through prisoners’ poetry submissions for the 2021 Poetry Anthology, I’ve found that some are particularly profound and well written. I recently read a poem that I wanted to share for its sheer quality, and the feeling I was left with after reading it. I hope you all find it as enjoyable and moving…

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Chapbook Update 22: Elizabeth S. Wolf

September 2, 2021

Gary Farlow sent in a collection of love poems from North Carolina. Mr. Farlow is a classically trained poet, with an impressive acknowledgements page of prior publications. My comment on this page is: “I have taken workshops which didn’t use repetition this effectively.” Wild Horses A team of wild horses          …

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Chapbook Update 21: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 30, 2021

Another triolet from Take Pleasure from Pain, written by Andre D Underwood. Mr. Underwood resides in Florida. I might suggest he play up the hyphens; there’s a bit of an Emily Dickinson feel here, which is interesting. My comment on the page is: “Well done. This form works for you.” Lust and Love As we…

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Chapbook Update 20: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 26, 2021

I can tell you about a triolet using a triolet by Zebulon Huset, published in the 3rd Wednesday journal. This was included in the educational packet accompanying my chapbook. How to Triolet Line one comes back seventh and fourth, line two is how the poem will end. Line three’s free but rhymes with one: north.…

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Chapbook Update 19: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 23, 2021

Several of the writers used standard poetic forms.  I gave a few examples in the education packet, but not many. Chapbooks are not expected to be in a formal poetry style. So it’s permitted, but not required. However it is a challenge that was accepted. This is a triolet from Take Pleasure from Pain, written…

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Chapbook Update 18: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 19, 2021

This is from the chapbook Time to Heal/ Transitions, written by James Stevahn. Mr. Stevahn resides in Arizona. The title poem is a collection of linked haibun.  This form consists of a short bit of prose poetry, followed by a haiku. It can be a very powerful way to communicate in a tight space. Here…

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Chapbook Update 17: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 16, 2021

More from the chapbook Burnt, written by Scott Madoulet. Mr. Madoulet resides in Washington. This appears near the end of the book.  It may have started as a list poem, or a dictionary poem. A dictionary poem traditionally goes beyond the conventional meaning of the word or brings in other associations. I found this thoughtful…

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Chapbook Update 16: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 12, 2021

From the chapbook Burnt, written by Scott Madoulet. Mr. Madoulet resides in Washington. This collection cycles through anger, bitterness, and redemption. This is an excerpt of the opening poem.    Burnt (part 1) To change the way I felt, I burnt myself today. Fire cleanses, doesn’t it? Arson led me astray.   (I thought) I…

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Chapbook Update 15: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 9, 2021

This is from the chapbook Do You Care, written by Marino Leyba. Mr. Leyba resides in Minnesota. This poem reminds me of the Bob Dylan quote: “If I can sing it, it’s a song. If I can’t sing it, it’s a poem.” At times I thought some of Mr. Leyba’s pieces could go either way.…

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Current & Past Poetry Anthologies from Prisoner Express

Here's some of the past anthologies we've printed and mailed to prisoners enrolled in our poetry programs. All of these anthologies are available for download and printing (see our copyright statement below) – simply click the PDF you'd like to download.

Terms of Use & Copyright:

All of the work collected and available in this archive is owned by, and all rights reserved, to the author. If you would like to use, distribute, or change any of the work presented in this archive you must have explicit permission from the author.

Please notify us if you would like assistance contacting any of the authors featured in the Prisoner Express Archive.