“Power of a Sentence” is a prison literacy program for learners of all ages in the state of Indiana. The program provides direct educational service to incarcerated learners by promoting the reading, writing, and communication skills related to storytelling in all its forms. Activities include critical reading, creative writing, textual analysis, discussion and debate, composition, letter writing, zine-making, recitation and performance--but we tend to just call it all “poetry.” Poetry programming promotes important academic skills that incarcerated people need for success in and out of prisons, and also serves as a tool for writers to reconstruct their identities and reflect on their purpose in the world. When we revise our words, we revise our lives.
In 2018, CELL started a new initiative called “Writing Our Resilience,” a hybrid creative writing project and qualitative research study on the topic of trauma-informed care. Participants in the course will read and discuss poetry written by survivors of abuse that explore difficult themes including addiction, domestic violence, household dysfunction, and mental health. The curriculum is embedded with Educational Neuroscience activities and serves to help writers living with trauma learn how to write about their experiences in healthy ways. Participants in the class will be invited to respond to readings by creating their own poems about critical topics, which will be compiled into an archive that helps the greater public understand the relationship between trauma and the criminal justice system. This project is supported by the New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship fellowship at Indiana University.
For more information please contact Adam Henze