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.

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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Chapbook Update 14: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 5, 2021

This is from the chapbook The Poetry and Prose of Prison, written by Frank Olms. This poem reminds me of Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash, taking a light tone to a not so funny situation.   Is That a Bug in my Drink?   I went to the mess-hall and sat down to eat Grits…

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Chapbook Update 13: Elizabeth S. Wolf

August 2, 2021

More from the chapbook Using An Ink Pen To Escape My Cage, written by Jon Albert Kaspar. Mr. Kaspar resides in Virginia. This is a sophisticated collection. Mr. Kaspar played with form, including some sonnets and a ghazal. The imagery here is wonderful. From The Ballad of the Ambiguous Prisoner:   Over stuffed cages Filled…

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Chapbook Update 12: Elizabeth S Wolf

July 29, 2021

This is from the chapbook Using An Ink Pen To Escape My Cage, written by Jon Albert Kaspar. Mr. Kaspar resides in Virginia. I loved this collection. A little bit Beat, a little bit Dylan, allusions flying out in all directions. This poem travels to the future, through history, and ends right in your lap.…

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Chapbook Update 11: Elizabeth S. Wolf

July 26, 2021

This is from the chapbook Mentally Confined, written by James Gondek. Mr. Gondek resides in Michigan. Many, many of these chapbooks touched on issues of mental illness and treatment. Read this for the insight, where the personal story turns into a universal truth.   Facing my Thoughts Every single night I drop these same tears…

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Chapbook Update 10: Elizabeth S. Wolf

July 22, 2021

This is excerpted from the chapbook Maybe, written by J. LeBlanc. Mr. LeBlanc resides in California. Mr. LeBlanc starts out with a bang: I was born in an 82 year old lady’s living room, a tongue-tied bastard and an underdog against life itself. Wow. When they say “you need a first line to grab the…

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Chapbook Update 9: Elizabeth S. Wolf

July 19, 2021

This is excerpted from Inspired, written by Derick LeCompte. Mr. LeCompte resides in at the South Woods State Prison in New Jersey. I like the shape and movement; it’s a very visceral moment. At A Time Moments flash by           grazing skin like the wind            …

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Chapbook Update 8: Elizabeth S. Wolf

July 15, 2021

Another poem from Secret Indictments, written by Robert Andrew Bartlett Sr. Mr. Bartlett resides in North Carolina. Rarely has so much been said in so few words. Even the blank lines on the page speak.   Pamela’s Query A woman screaming   “Why do you act like children?”   Three preschoolers cry.

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Journal Program
Theme Essays
Prisoner Art
Book Packages

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.