David A. Pickett was awarded an Honorable Mention in Poetry in the 2022 Prison Writing Contest.

Every year, hundreds of imprisoned people from around the country submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works to PEN America’s Prison Writing Contest, one of the few outlets of free expression for the country’s incarcerated population.


we are yet living, are alive,

to be reminded that there are

days, hours, minutes, even weeks,

when we do not, in fact, weep,

when we eat food that our

tongues might rejoice in, we

laugh like men might laugh

at a joke that the free

world might laugh at

To finish reading this, as well as the works of all other contributors, purchase Variations on an Undisclosed Location: 2022 Prison Writing Awards Anthology here.