Bowdoin Slam Poets Give Inmates a Voice

To draw attention to the educational work it does with prison inmates, the College Guild, a Brunswick-based nonprofit, recently invited members of Bowdoin’s Slam Poets Society to perform writings by prisoners.

Bowdoin students and community members gathered in Brunswick’s Curtis Memorial Library last Saturday to watch the slam poets and others narrate dramatic pieces, poems and short stories.

The College Guild provides free mail-in college courses to prisoners around the country. Volunteers, including several Bowdoin students, review students’ work and send feedback. Elizabeth Brown ’15, a College Guild tutor, said, “The College Guild serves not only to help inmates improve their writing and critical thinking skills, but [it also provides a] meaningful and positive contact with citizens outside of prison.”

Among the works read aloud were poems about nature, a theatrical production of modern-day fairytales, a satirical story about carving a Thanksgiving turkey, and several emotional autobiographical pieces.

Below is one of the poems read at the event.

Dry Graveyard, by Carlos B.

Through me
Many have wandered.
I cover their
Hard trails
With a dry kiss
Day after day
The mighty sun
Places his
Impressive weight
On my back.
I laugh.
I am not a forest.
The fear of fire
Does not piece my soul.
But I envy the sea
Who has abundance
Of water.
So I dream mirages
And build an oasis.

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