Iowa Prison Writing Project

Connecting the UI writing community with prison writing communities in Iowa & beyond.


 

Christian M., Texas: A Specific Gravity

"I have long been encumbered by the wearisome / weight of this world / bearing down on my...

 

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Jason R., Iowa: Will I Be Free to Walk in the Mist?

"Our prison rests on a small hill overlooking a lowland plain ..."

 

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Jason R., Iowa: Three Boxes

"Dark desolate walls, / old prison, charming on the outside ..."

 

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Robert L. N., Iowa: Apologies

"These are my apologies Momma, / I know you hate me being locked up,"

 

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Clifford A. J., Iowa: Squeal

"Like a Babe struggling mightily in Charlottes sticky web. / America. High on the hog, in hog...

 

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Matthew F., Minnesota: Sunlight in a Prison Library

"The light / Hits the battered white window pane ..."

 

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JACK L, IA: Easement

"If you’ll grant me squatter’s rights  / To an acreage of your heart,"

 

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Michael W., IA: God?

"I was adopted. Before my birth, the adoption agency had to tell potential parents that I...

 

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Jack L., IA: Rose Bee

"With’r’d roses: stems and thorns— / The kill of colour bloom;"

 

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R. A. Williams, CA: Success While Out of Life’s Element 

"Within the confines of prison you have many opportunities with regards to time toward...

 

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A. Hudson, IOWA: Pebbles

"I SECLUDE MYSELF / INTO THA DEPTS- / OF THINKIN / GLANCEN OUT / OF A WINDOW PLANE"

 

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A. Hudson, Iowa: ANTZ

"A COMMUNITY OF ~ANTZ~ WORK TOGETHER, EMERGING EACH DAY-A NEW-WIT"

 

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Rodney B., Iowa: The Seed

"There once was a tiny seed in the dark and cold. It was still and content in that way only...

 

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Daniel H., Iowa: Birthday Star

"So young, and full of joy, / you no longer play with toys!"

 

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Daniel H., Iowa: My Life in the Darkness

"I see the light up above, / yet it’s so far away!"

 

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David W. M., Iowa: The Maker

"The sound of silence deafening . . . as I await the final reckoning"

 

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Clifford A. J., Iowa: Holding Hand’s Blues

"I miss my Mama blue. How did this happen? / Oh, how I miss Mama blue. This did happen."

 

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Clyde H., Iowa: Tick Tock

"Tick Tock goes the clock / I sit by the window and wait."

 

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Kyle M., Iowa: It’s What I Know

"From my past, the way I use to handle my pain / Was different than the norm ..."

 

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Josh L., Iowa: Frame 

"Hanging empty on an empty wall / is a frame ..."

 

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Josh L., Iowa: Finding Freedom

"Is it possible to be lost / and be tethered and bound? ..."

 

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ABOUT US


The University of Iowa Prison Writing Project connects the writing community on campus with prison writing communities in Iowa and beyond. We seek to foster and support writing and self-expression by the imprisoned and believe that these voices offer unique contributions to the literary landscape. We believe that when the work of inside writers is championed, both inside and outside populations benefit.

About the University of Iowa Prison Writing Project

The University of Iowa Prison Writing Project is a collaboration between the Writing University and The Iowa Review.

Goals

  1. Empower and encourage prisoners to write and provide a platform to champion their writing.
  2. Connect inside and outside writers to foster greater understanding, dialogue, and creative opportunities for both.
  3. Provide incarcerated individuals with writing resources and opportunities to showcase their work. 

Phone: (319) 335-0462

Email: prison-writing@uiowa.edu 

Mailing Address:

[Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction] Editor
Prison Writing Project
305N CC
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES


Good writing exists everywhere, and that holds true for Iowa’s prisons. The Prison Writing Project was founded on the belief that all writing deserves to be celebrated, honored, and shared. This is why the PWP is hosting a creative writing open reading period, inviting submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from people who are currently incarcerated in the state of Iowa. All submissions will be read by a team of editors and selected pieces will be published online for a wider audience to connect with.

How to Submit Work

  • There is no fee to submit work.
  • Submission period: September 1 through October 31, 2019
  • Submit a manuscript of up to 6 poems (totaling no more than 10 pages, with each poem presented on a separate page) or up to 15 pages for fiction and creative nonfiction.
  • All submissions will be considered for online publication.
  • Accepted submissions will be chosen by an editor of The Iowa Review and the PWP reading team.
  • To submit, please send to the following address:

[Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction] Editor
Prison Writing Project
305N CC
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242

The Reading Process
It will take our readers 4 to 6 months to select work and respond to those whose pieces are accepted. At this time, we are unable to send notices to those whose work we aren’t able to publish. While we understand your interest in and commitment to your writing, please do not have friends and family call or contact the PWP regarding work under consideration; administrators within the prison are welcome to contact the PWP if there are questions, or you can send a note by paper mail.

Who Reads the Work?
The team of volunteer readers who will consider work include faculty, staff, and students from the University of Iowa’s writing programs and publications. Leading the reading team is the deputy managing editor for The Iowa Review, a world-renowned literary journal out of the UI Department of English.

What Happens if Your Work Is Selected?
Those whose work is selected for publication will receive notice from The Iowa Review via paper mail. Selected work will be published and showcased on the University of Iowa’s WritingUniversity.org webpage. Authors will be sent printed copies of their published work. Some select work may also be published in print anthologies or in the UI Literary Kiosks. Authors will be alerted if their work is selected for publication. Please note that there is no financial payment for published work.

Eligibility
Anyone who is incarcerated in the state of Iowa is eligible to enter. All submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter with the author’s name, identification number, and complete mailing address. Handwritten submissions are accepted. Authors may not submit more than one entry per reading period. Only unpublished manuscripts will be considered, with the exception of pieces that have appeared in prison-only publications. At the present time, the Prison Writing Project is unable to return manuscripts back to their respective authors. Send in a copy of your work and keep the original. Please include a return address.

About the University of Iowa Prison Writing Project
The University of Iowa Prison Writing Project is a collaboration between the University of Iowa’s award-winning literary magazine The Iowa Review, the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing, and the UI Writing University. The PWP connects the writing community on campus with prison writing communities in Iowa and beyond. The project seeks to foster and support the writing and self-expression of incarcerated individuals and is grounded in the belief that these voices offer unique contributions to the literary landscape.

About the Writing University

The Virtual Writing University is a collaborative, interdisciplinary initiative sponsored by the Graduate College and the Office of the Provost at the University of Iowa. The project launched in fall, 2006, with the mandate to create a virtual space for the University of Iowa’s writing community. 

About the Literary Kiosk

The University of Iowa Libraries Literary Kiosk offer anyone a free one-, three-, or five-minute piece of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction to read. Cosponsored by Iowa City, UNESCO City of Literature, the kiosks are set up at the Iowa City Public Library, University of Iowa Main Library, Stead Children’s Hospital, Coralville, the Eastern Iowa Airport, and throughout the state of Iowa.

UI Non-Discrimination Statement

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities.

Please contact prison-writing@uiowa.edu with any questions.

 

 

 


STAFF


 

Kate Conlow serves as deputy managing editor at The Iowa Review, the University of Iowa’s literary magazine, as well as managing editor of Philological Quarterly, an academic journal housed in the English Department. She has served as coordinator for the Oakdale Prison newspaper The Oakdale Voice since 2015 and has been involved with prison arts and writing since 2005.

 

Izzy Casey is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she works as the poetry editor for The Iowa Review. Her poems are published in NY Tyrant, Hobart, and Corriere della Sera (forthcoming.)

 

Marcus Brown is a writer and University of Iowa graduate currently working for the Iowa City Downtown District. An avid participant in the Iowa City Literary Community, Marcus has served on the editorial boards for numerous local publications such as Earthwords and the Daily Iowan in addition to performing poetry around town.

 

Kathleen Cole is an MFA student in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She teaches an Interpretation of Literature course at the University and works at the University of Iowa Press.

 

Rauni Overstreet is a second year cinema student at the University of Iowa with focuses in creative writing and Korean language. Outside of academia, she is vice president of the University of Iowa's organization Media Entertainment lifeStyle (MES) which focuses on the production of digital art and media. 

 

Michael Westphal is a junior studying human physiology. He is a research assistant in the E. Dale Abel lab, where he helps to investigate the complications of type II diabetes. In his free time he loves to read, play board games, and watch movies.


CONTACT


The PWP connects University of Iowa faculty, staff, and students with imprisoned writers, creating a positive environment for learning and growth. Please feel free to contact us with any questions!

Phone: (319) 335-0462

Email: prison-writing@uiowa.edu 

Mailing Address:

[Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction] Editor
Prison Writing Project
305N CC
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242