“Poetry from the Inside” Special Event on Sept. 28

The Poetry Center of Chicago is proud to partner with Free Write Arts & Literacy and Chicago Books to Women in Prison to present a special reading and book drive on Wednesday, September 28 from 7-9pm at Chicago Art Department.

We encourage attendees of this event to bring books to donate to Chicago Books to Women in Prison, a volunteer collective that distributes paperback books free of charge to people incarcerated in women’s prisons nationwide. The organization is very interested in paperbacks less than 10 years old, new or in good condition—especially dictionaries, learning Spanish, African-American fiction (urban and romance) and puzzle books. Because only particular types of books can be sent to prisons, please review these donation guidelines.

The evening will begin with readings by Free Write’s Alumni Marshawn Knight, Marie Duran, Sbg Kemo, and Jason Murell. They will be reading their pieces that are published in the recently released seventh anthology of Free Write student writing and art, entitled Evidence, as well as other selected works.

In order to pay Free Write’s young readers, we are asking for a small donation of $5-$10 at the door, if you are able. Copies of the new anthology will be available for a suggested donation of $25.

Over the years, Chicago Books to Women in Prison has been sent several poems written by women who are currently incarcerated. To share those poems at this event, the Poetry Center of Chicago has asked acclaimed poets Hannah Gamble and Erika L. Sánchez to serve as readers of the following poems:

“And So I Say Goodbye”, Amy F. (Illinois)
“Depression”, Candice B. (Ohio)
“D.O.C. Echos”, Juliette R. (Florida)
“Drowning in a sea of faces”, Elizabeth T. (Mississippi)
“How Long?”, Sabrina D. (Florida)
“Lady of the South”, Wendy H. (Florida)
“Lost”, Sonya H. (Indiana)
“Seize Society”, Kelly R. (Florida)
“What Is Beautiful”, Tamra C. (Florida)

There will be a cash donation bar at the event, so bring your IDs!

Produced and hosted by Danielle Susi
An independent not-for-profit arts organization founded in 1974, The Poetry Center of Chicago’s mission is to promote poetry through readings, workshops, residencies and arts education, to make poetry accessible to the general public.

Free Write Arts & Literacy facilitates one-on-one literacy tutoring, workshops in creative writing, visual art, audio engineering, as well as publishing and public presentation opportunities for youth detained in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Chicago Books to Women in Prison is a volunteer collective that distributes paperback books free of charge to people incarcerated in women’s prisons nationwide.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.