S167. Creative Freedom: Writing in US Prisons

F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
10:30 am to 11:45 am


These presentations look into the benefits and challenges of creative writing in the US prison system. The panel of formerly incarcerated writers and creative writing instructors will focus on the development of the imagination and its expression as a counterbalance to the dehumanizing experience of incarceration. Each will discuss their own experiences and the role that creative writing has had on lives both inside and outside the prison system.



Mike Puican has had poems in Poetry, Michigan Quarterly Review, and New England Review. His essays and reviews have appeared in TriQuarterly, Kenyon Review, and Brevity. He runs poetry workshops at St. Leonard’s halfway house and the Metropolitan Correctional Center federal prison in Chicago.

Ann Folwell Stanford has taught at DePaul University for twenty-nine years. Her poetry has been published widely in literary magazines and she recently coedited a volume of writing on women, writing, and prison. She facilitated poetry workshops with women at Cook County Jail for nearly ten years in Chicago.

Michael Fischer was released from prison in 2015 and is currently a graduate student at the University of Chicago. He is a Luminarts Foundation Creative Writing Fellow and a writing mentor for Pen-City Writers. His essays appear in Salon, The Sun, Brevity, The Rumpus, Guernica, Hobart, and elsewhere.

Eric Boyd is on the board of directors for Chatham University's Words Without Walls program and a winner of the PEN Prison Writing Award, a program for which he is now a longtime mentor. His writing has appeared in Guernica, Joyland, and The Offing. Boyd is a graduate of The Writers Foundry MFA.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center