Publications

Read Original Literature from PEN America Publications and Programs

PEN America produces a breadth of interviews, poetry, graphic narratives, essays, translation, and book excerpts through its online series, literary awards, Prison Writing Program, World Voices Festival, and other events throughout the year. 

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PEN Poetry Series •  Prison WritingThe PEN Ten InterviewsIllustrated PEN

Under The Bridge

"Not too many things are difficult to deal with when you're high as a kite, soaring above the crowds of people on the streets of DC." More

colored glass tiles in a window pane

Tetris

"He watched the yellow tiles on the wall move down and stack together to make lines. Building around a hole he would never crawl out from." More

The Last Time I Saw Chet

"You always think you will know when it happens, but you don't. When you fall apart, when all your abilities to manage, navigate, and remedy are rendered worthless." More

rain drops on a window

As I Hear the Rain

"She had / Never understood my fascination / With the smell of dirt and fertilizer / Trapped in rows of rotting wooden benches." More

street traffic

Tiny General

"We ate into our stack of chips with all this, bro. We need to make some money. I'm going to need your help." More

spotlights

Outcasts

"They weren’t perfect, but they did their best at parenting. I never doubted they loved me." More

pen on a blank notebook

A King of Infinite Space

"Power comes from influence over life, over movement, which the immovable do not do except with fear and shadows to drive those things away from them." More

A judge's gavel

Parole Reform

"Prisoners must have a mode in which they can challenge the state’s actions in parole decisions. Any system that cannot be held accountable is an unjust system." More

two people walking through a tunnel

Geode

"Randy picked up a geode—a black, gnarled rock, sliced open to reveal a crystalline pocket within—and turned it over in his hands." More