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Judith Tannenbaum's Blog

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Feb.04.2011
Who do we (those of us with some power) forget when we talk about history, public policy, and what it means to be human? Which children do we nurture? Which do we shun?  Black History Month honors the forces and flows that shape a people and our nation. Coties Perry and Spoon Jackson -- along with...
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Oct.03.2010
Went with Aracely (WritersCorps teaching artist), Annie (amazing artist and long-time WritersCorps student), and my 20-year old nephew, Gus. We spent an hour or so talking (some of us ranting) after watching the movie. Here’s some of what we said:
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Jul.28.2010
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I'm two and one-half and at the house my father, mother, and I are about to move into. What I see when I remember is my father dismantling a crib in the corner of a small bedroom and light pouring through two south-facing windows. September light, red and gold, low light that steeps more than...
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May.01.2010
Thanks to Robert Pollie for the time, thought, and heart he put into the By Heart program he assembled and aired on KUSP on April 25. You can listen here. Robert taped Spoon ten or twelve times — via collect calls from prison, with beeps and recorded messages. I love hearing Spoon speak for...
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Apr.10.2010
If you have a book coming out soon, here's a suggestion. Our press gave 15 copies of By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives -- the two-person memoir I've written with Spoon Jackson -- to both GoodReads and LibraryThing for their early review programs. We're just starting to get...
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Mar.21.2010
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Spoon Jackson's book of poems -- Longer Ago -- is now available on lulu.com  Spoon's and my By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives -- a two-person memoir -- is also now available for purchase.
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Feb.19.2010
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By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives will be out in April. We are so happy to share the incredible book trailer Michel Wenzer has made for our book.
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Feb.02.2010
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Most of the men I know in prison (I mostly know men) are serving some kind of life sentence. Some -- like Spoon -- are serving life without possibility of parole. Some -- like Coties -- have a sentence so long (99 years) that it stands as a life sentence. Others -- like Elmo -- are serving term-to-...
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Jan.15.2010
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Three more months until By Heart is out. I love Adrienne Eliza Aquino’s cover and Leigh MccLellan’s interior design. What a gift to know that the book Spoon and I worked so hard to write will also be really beautiful! We’re getting ready to send advance review copies out to a couple dozen possible...
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Nov.05.2009
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Kenneth E. Hartman’s is the third book to come out this fall written by men doing time. I’ve written before about Dwayne Betts’ A Question of Freedom and Jarvis Masters’ That Bird Has My Wings, and now I want to share a few words about Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars by Kenneth...
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Oct.31.2009
Phyllis Kornfeld – whose Cellblock Visions is a powerful and beautiful collection of art made by people in prison – has begun the Inside/Outside Envelope Project. As Phyllis describes: “Envelope art is a long-standing tradition in prison art. Beautiful envelopes sent to loved ones communicate a...
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Oct.20.2009
Dear President Obama: There are so many ways in which I am deeply grateful that you are our president. I could write you a long ode with many stanzas of praise. Such an ode would be heartfelt, but also heartfelt is this note that raises my deep concerns about much of the Arne Duncan education...
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Oct.10.2009
That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row is Jarvis Jay Masters’ second book, and it comes with endorsements by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Van Jones, author David Sheff, and many others. Although Masters writes of the crimes he’s committed, as well as those he’s...
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Sep.23.2009
The two-person memoir Spoon Jackson and I have written will be out April, 2010. We're happy, and both working hard. You can read about By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives here (and sign up to be notified when the book comes out)    
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Aug.27.2009
R. Dwayne Betts – “a good student from a lower-middle-class family” – carjacked a man, went to prison, and has written a book about the experience. Betts was sixteen when he committed the crime, but tried and convicted as an adult; he served eight years in Virginia prisons. He’s been out for four...
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