Prison & Justice Writing

For more than four decades, PEN America’s Prison Writing Program has amplified the writing of thousands of imprisoned writers by providing free resources, skilled mentors, and audiences for their… More

The Music of Lucas Darnish

His right hand broken and rebroken, the knuckles recessed toward his wrist until the knuckle of his pinkie almost touched it. When he held his hand sideways, it looked… More

Betrayal–Past–Tony

I met Tony when I was nineteen. I was wild-eyed and wide open, looking for love and finding nothing but one night stands in the back seats of random… More

UN Plaza

Today is not that good day, / I do not want to die. / I’m not a soul but a seal / in the company of seals... More

Cultivation

Burlap sack snaps in the windagain, the turn-rows grow longer.Along the way, days become bygones—dandelions dancing in the breeze.Knees dig into loose soil,toiling hands peel away a husk.Dusk meets… More

An Ordinary Prison

Peer into a prisonariumWe travel in a fish bowlPut your ear to the glass and hearA mumbled roar with shrill highlightsCardsharks hunched over scores and crumbsSlapping cards and grunting… More

Solitary Confinement

Most Americans don’t know that the Bureau of Prisons has the sole authority to put any prisoner in solitary confinement—or in any prison facility—for any amount of time under… More