I was drawn to the cover art of Doing Time. I felt it was so very fitting to the content. Thank you, Claire Bennet, at Pottersfield Press for sending me the e-pub version of this book. I had so wanted to read it as part of my personal exploration of poetry, old and new, for April which is Poetry Month. This book gave me the perfect opportunity to expand my reading knowledge in this genre. This book serves as a reminder of the value of poetry. Doing Time also provides the reader with some excellent poetry recommendations as well as an informative and thought-provoking look at the uses of poetry as a tool for self-exploration.
I think the most telling value of these prison writing workshops comes from an inmate who participated in them. He said he enjoyed writing because “he can write things that hurt too much to say aloud.” What a sad statement.
The presentation of poetry in these workshops lends itself to individual interpretation and sparks a deep well of introspection through analysis. This allows the men and women who participated in the writing workshops to explore their emotions, their thoughts, their feelings without the fear of being right or wrong.
The author is honest and thought-provoking. Again and again, she tells her reader that she learned so much. She writes – “I did not know that Jonah had children or had been a valedictorian. When you’ve committed a crime, everything else is rendered insignificant. How many gifts and accomplishments that these young men have achieved remain unknown?”
After reading Doing Time I took the time to sit with and write my own pieces from the author’s writing prompts for the inmates. I read some of Carole Langille’s own poetry which I had never read before. Through my own analysis of particular poems I learned and explored things happening in my own life that I had not thought about in years. I also took the time to read some of the author’s suggested poets I was unfamiliar with. The lines of poetry that have stuck with me most come from a poet I am familiar with but have re-visited through Carole Glasser Langille’s prompts. These lines seem to aptly apply when thinking about the men and women the author has written about. The lines come from the poet Thich Nhat Hanh – “the real miracle is not to walk, either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.” What difficult “walks” some of these inmates have had in life.
Doing Time: Writing Workshops in Prison by Carole Glasser Langille
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