Blogs by Deborah Appleman

Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Stay Free

Monday was Robert’s last class. A big bear of a man, whose gentle demeanor is at odds with his appearance (and probably his record), Robert is being released on Monday, November 24th. This is a rare occurrence, since so many have the guys in our class are serving life sentences. These days, in Minnesota anyway,

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

The School-to-Prison Pipeline

The School-to-Prison Pipeline I remember, when I was a high school teacher, working with students who I thought were walking a tightrope between going to college and going to jail. Up to this point, my teaching life has insulated me so that I’ve only seen the students who ended up in college. Now I see

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Celebrating Poetry, From the Outside In

Last Wednesday, in addition to rediscovering hope for our country and for democracy, much of the world discovered the power of the spoken word. Through the brilliant of Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman, we were able to be inspired by her words, as she recited “The Hill we Climb. ” For some,  this might have been

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

The Season of Small Gestures of Compassion

The pandemic has made the last year extremely difficult for all of us, but conditions in our prisons have gone from terrible to intolerable.  Several Minnesota prisons have become hotspots of infection, and all programming and visitation has been halted.  Many of the incarcerated have spent most of the last 10 months in their cell.

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Before I Was Anything

“Before I Was Anything” A Poem by Zeke Caligiuri         Before I was anything I was an abstraction, sound waves moving through glycerin. Before the effigies of my generation in orange jumpsuits started tattooing cuffs on their wrists, bars on their hearts, I was a red jumpsuit running under evergreens on the

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Sticks and Stones, Essays from Incarcerated Students

We’ve all heard the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names may never harm me.”  Yet most of us have experienced the power of language to harm us. For one of my prison classes, I instructed the incarcerated students to write a personal essay of two to three typewritten or 3-4 handwritten

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Walking the Tightrope Between Jail and College

At 7:30 AM on a still cold March morning, I wait inside the entrance of an urban public high school, with Patrick, a ninth-grade English teacher on one side of me and a security guard on the other. We are waiting for the arrival of Eli, my formerly incarcerated student, who has agreed to spend

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Live Book Discussion with Deborah Appleman and Kao Kalia Yang

  Reading and Writing through the Hard Times: Deborah Appleman presents Words No Bars Can Hold, with Kao Kalia Yang   Monday, August 24, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers Facebook Page Ever wondered about the ability of literature “to empower inmates who are too often dismissively diminished by society”? Join Deborah Appleman as she discusses her book, in

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Saying Goodbye to Grandma in Chains

Eddie comes up to me after the midterm and says he too is afraid that he hadn’t done as well as he should have. Eddie is a tutor, a sweet and serious man in his late twenties, who works with other inmates to help them earn a GED. “You see, my grandma died this week,”

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