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.

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Poetry Anthology #18

Poetry anthology 18 was compiled by Jennifer at Prisoner Express. It was her last big project before she graduated. She edited 2 anthologies in her time at Prisoner Express, reading many thousands of poems from 400+ participants and selected these to print. All of the prisoners who submitted poems received a copy of the newsletter. Download…

Photo by Jon Asato on Unsplash

“Where Dreams are not Welcome,” by Taj Mahan-Haft

Dreams are an essentially human thing and having them taken away steals life. This piece is a subtle shout to Langston Hughes and his many references to dreams deferred. Here they are not just deferred but kept out at all costs, by the structure of the environment and by the culture inside. I wrote this…

“I’m Here,” by William Spaulding

My poem is about my mom. I was in prison and lost her to an overdose. She was my best friend and for the longest time I felt like my life was over. I am an impulsive writer and one morning I woke up and grabbed the pen and paper and wrote this poem. I…

“The Scent of Spring,” by Dennis D. Thomas

This poem is an attempt to describe to someone who has never done a “bid” or what is most commonly known as hard-time. It is very…

“The Adam,” by Adam Baird

I took a walk around the world to ease my troubled mind I left my body lying somewhere in the sands of time But I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon I feel there is nothing I can do, yeah I watched the world float to the dark side of…

“Poetic Liesense,” by Michael Griffis

I’ve written now my words of wit
both in poem and prose
I’ve written in my birthday suit
    (that means without my clothes)
I’ve written words the wise do quote
I’ve wrote for Hallmark cards
I’ve wrote for Poe and Longfellow
   (some world famous bards)

“Pork and Beans,” by Robert C. Fuentes

They listened to evening records
Over bowls of pork and beans,
Plumping up their hearts,
Although times were very lean…


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Theme Essays
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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.