Poetry in the Jails provides weekly writing and poetry workshops to incarcerated men and women. The workshops foster creativity and self-expression and provide an opportunity for participants to transform personal suffering into a shared experience through poems and stories.
The workshops help participants heal emotional wounds and make meaning of their lives. The skills learned in the workshops can be life-changing, especially for those trying to successfully reintegrate into their communities after incarceration. One participant was so deeply moved by the workshop he wanted to know how he could give his children “poetry lessons” so that he could share the experience with them.
The funds raised through Crowdrise will enable the Project to continue providing this valuable program to incarcerated men and women. Workshops are facilitated by a dedicated group of volunteers, as well as teaching artists from the community. Funds raised go directly to hiring local poets and writers to facilitate workshops as well as providing needed supplies and materials.
The funds will also support the production of anthologies featuring the work of participants. These anthologies affirm the participants’ value as artists, creators and contributing members of the community.
Poetry in the Jails began as the legacy project of Ellen Bass while she was Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County. Over the past six years, the program has facilitated workshops throughout the county and with your help will continue changing the lives of incarcerated men and women one word, one poem at a time.
The success stories are notable. One participant with only a third grade education and limited ability to spell and write gained enough confidence in a workshop to create his first poem. That week he shared it with his entire jail block. When he was released he signed up for classes at the junior college. He said he was no longer afraid to let himself learn.
Poetry in the Jails is a Program of The Santa Cruz Poetry Project and is fiscally sponsored by The William James Association. Your donations are tax deductible. You will receive a receipt showing your donation to The William James Association on our behalf.. Every donation helps and we appreciate every dollar. If you’d like to make a donation with a check you can write it to The William James Association. Please make a note in the memo line that it is for The Santa Cruz Poetry Project. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 1632 Santa Cruz, Ca 95061.
Please visit our website at https://www.poetryinthejails.org