Jayne Thompson and “Letters to My Younger Self”

I recently went to listen to writer/activist Jayne Thompson speak and I found her work to be really intriguing. She is a creative writing professor, but also runs writing workshops for incarcerated men. She even published a book titled “Letters to My Younger Self,” which is an anthology of some of their work. During her presentation, she played a few recordings of men reading their own poems, and I was amazed to see how powerful their voices were. Here are men, many of whom have very little formal education, who are able to produce writing that evokes such a strong reaction. Literacy issues aside, I think what most got me was that they refuse to be silent despite their imprisonment. Thompson works with them precisely so that their voices are heard, voices that are so often forgotten in our country with THE highest incarceration rate in the world. Working with prison populations is not something I’ve ever thought about doing, but after hearing Thompson speak, I think it would be really interesting to be able to run similar workshops.

One Reply to “Jayne Thompson and “Letters to My Younger Self””

  1. Amanda,
    Now I really wish I attended this! I think that she’s doing some immense good by allowing the voices of those who are most often silenced to be heard, and I think it would be interesting to hear not only from men in the prison-industrial complex, but also women, because while we have shows like “Orange is the New Black” etc., I still feel that we need to hear more from women in all walks of life (especially considering the numbers VIDA has consistently been getting!) Thanks for writing on this topic, if you ever do get a project like this set up, I’d love to be a part of it!

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