Labyrinth

Missouri State Prison looks like it was pulled up by the roots and transplanted block by block, wall by wall, tower by tower, massive iron gate by gate from… More

Horse the Caterpillar

In the world that I lived, I felt attached to its walls. These walls had no corners for there was no place to hide.In the beginning of this life… More

Father

At 13, banished from homehe learned not to trust.Brilliant, he doubted his brilliance,and crept downstairs to grab exam resultsbefore others. To no one’s surprisebut his, he had topped the… More

Prison Moon

Four a.m. work duty and I beginmy solitary trudge from outer compoundto main building. A shivering guard,chilled in his lonely outpost, strip searchesme until content that my inconsequential nudity.poses… More

A Song of Death

There's a bird caught in the airduct that blows his dying song through the vent scared and beautiful resounding memories of the birds of childhood More

Journal of a Prisoner

October 27, 1998I began this day much like I begin every day here in prison. I woke at about 6 a.m. to pill call. I always wake up hearing… More

Cadaver

Honorable Mention, PoetryOptics only 9 yrs in usesaw the needlefilled with very little bloodhanging in the vein of the tied armThe arm hanging from a manlying in a refrigeratorin… More

Chris Early: Sheryl

Legs parted like a pie with one slice eaten inside a la mode thighs angle over sour sheets. They are silk. A guitar sleeps beside her, always, and I am stoned again, nude, seated on carpet, waiting… More

Get the Free Speech News You Need

protesters in face masks carrying old Belarusian national flags

PEN America has a new weekly newsletter, PEN Points, bringing you a digest of the biggest free expression news of the week, plus the analysis and insights you trust from PEN America experts.