The Rhode Island Department of Corrections has been chosen by the Writers’ Circle’s as one of its destinations for readings and workshops to be offered throughout the state as part of its Power to the Poets project. Rhode Island Poet Laureate Lisa Starr will be joined by poets Chris Stewart (an ex offender and former heroin addict), Quintin Prout, Marguerite Flanders, and Bill Carpenter at the John J. Moran Medium Security Facility on Saturday, October 25th, at 12:30 p.m. A small group of pre-selected inmates will participate in the two-hour workshop in the prison’s Education Unit. They have been invited to share their own writings and experiences.
Writers’ Circle poets have a background in the social services, teaching, and theatre. This project, according to the Writers’ Circle, “engages the audience in listening, reading, and writing poetry.”
Lisa Starr says this about the upcoming visit. “It has become so easy for us, as a culture, to ‘put away’ those who are different from us or who might pose a threat to what we have come to think of as our security. Many of us live in either imposed or artificial communities -- imposed because we've been placed there (inmates, the mentally ill, the homeless) or artificial because they deny the existence of the same. It is the goal of the Writers Circle to break down some of these barriers and to create an open, safe zone for written and verbal communication between writers/poets around the state and inmates at the ACI. We are coming more out of a desire to learn than to teach. It is our belief that everyone has a story worth telling, and that all it usually takes is for someone to ask.”
The project is being funded by a grant from AMICA National Insurance and will run through the end of 2009.