Poems From The Jail Dorm

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Poems From The Jail Dorm

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A collection of poems by prisoners at Monroe County Jail

Published in collaboration with the New Leaf New Life Poetry Workshop

Edited by John-Michael Bloomquist & Frank Brown Cloud

With poetry by Craig Grimes, Pouncho, Tio, Blake Likeness, Brad Vieira, Max E., Cody S. Waldrip, William D. Booker, Brett Wagner, J.G., Satish Brown, Azul X, & Drama

June 2017 • Newsprint • Anthology

All sales of this publication will go to fund future prisoner publications

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Craig Grimes, 37, is a Kokomo, IN native who started writing poetry 20 years ago. He only recently has tapped into the travels, experiences, and education that he now uses as the subject of his poetry.

Albert C. Jones, AKA Pouncho, was born in Detroit, MI, & moved to Indianapolis in 2000. Big family of 16 and the oldest. A breeder by nature, but creative writing is a must!

Cody S. Waldrip, AKA Miami, comes from a half-tightly-knit Italian family, the other half a loosely stitched biker gang from Florida. In & out of jails, prisons, and programs since 15, he is now feeling his life is worth something.

Max E. was born in Peru, Indiana. Living in this realm, but experiencing others.

Brett Wagner is from Tennessee, on the shores of the Dale Hollow Lake and plays bass with Sasquatch Rock.

William D. Booker is from Fort Wayne, Indiana and would like to become the creator of poetic drywall.

Azul X, Tio, Satish Brown, J.G., Brad Vieira, Blake Likeness, & Drama were moved — to jails or prisons elsewhere — before we finalized this publication. We were unable to acquire their biographical information.


John-Michael Bloomquist has a dual MFA from VCU and has been published in The Superstition Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Third Coast. He is the founder of PoetryForTrash.com, a public arts project that encourages gift economics as a solution to pollution.

Frank Brown Cloud (@FCBrownCloud) received his Ph.D. from Stanford and has been published in The Coachella Review, Stirring, and The Journal of Cell Biology. He directs the Indiana Prisoners Writing Workshop, an offshoot of the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project.

The New Leaf New Life Dorm was an addiction recovery program inside the Monroe County Jail. Inmates chose to live in this small space, and although outside volunteers offered weekly programs, like AA meetings or poetry classes, their work was self-directed. This autonomy was an essential feature of the program – no one can be forced into sobriety. Inside the NLNL dorm, the men established a culture of trust and a strong, supportive community inside the confines of the jail. Tragically, this program was recently canceled, replaced by court-mandated rehab, but this publication and letters (from people like you) to the sheriff are working to reinstate it.

If you are concerned about mass incarceration and would like to take action in Bloomington, please contact, get involved with, or donate to New Leaf New Life or the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project. From elsewhere in the country, we recommend you contact, get involved with, or donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center or Solitary Watch.