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

Fault

“It’s your fault,” the father said to his son. The father wore gold wire-framed glasses upon his bulbous nose. His neatly trimmed white beard covered a softness that often… More

Casine the Joint

We all seem to want something for nothing. Yet the convicts’ code decrees that we do not steal from each other. It’s an “honor amongst thieves” theme that almost… More

Brother’s Peeper

It began with a collect phone call, a crosscountry Greyhound ride, and a one-meal-a-day budget. Jeffery Digger got off at night, picking his teeth with a ticket stub. Nobody… More

Diary

i name bridges of every day the morning commute is a bridge connecting the comfort of my bed to the grind of the pens that i push— papers i fold into model F-14 tomcats More

The Apple

A limb reaching heavenward just as we journey in awkward crooks and juts and bends at knobby intersections yet upwardly The Apple Fruit snapped free *Broken open by patio bricks Devastated potential for late summertime… More

Rehabilitation

No sky. No grass. No trees, No travel. No children. No wife. No man’s best friend. No trust. No suffrage. No income. No autonomy. No power to do good. More

Lines

lines that bind or tie together our shared histories meander like the mighty Mississippi intricate web—emit the life of our times, flow organically as tree branches etch a map upon our brows, cheeks … visual reminders to all… More

Feather

A single feather fell from my ceiling I certainly was not expecting that Nor was I expecting such a feeling From inside this jail cell where I’ve sat Minute after day after month,… More

salsa meditation

my hands will smell for days of onions, garlic and jalapeños despite repeated washings after slicing, dicing and mincing with my trusty lid-o-matic and plastic picnic knife essential utensils of a prison… More

Longings

I miss the feeling of weightlessness while floating in the ocean and staring at the clear blue sky, gently bobbing to the rhythm of events beyond the horizon. I miss the salt stinging my… More