Blogs by Deborah Appleman

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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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

George Floyd Through the Eyes of a Prison Teacher

As I surveyed the cluttered, expanding, and deeply moving memorial site at 38th and Chicago, I tried to see that street corner and the murder of George Floyd and its aftermath through the eyes of the incarcerated men I am privileged to teach at two correction facilities in Minnesota. I knew that many of them

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

The Tragedy of George Floyd’s Death and its Devastating Aftermath

As I consider the tragedy of George Floyd’s death and its devastating aftermath, I keep thinking of the incarcerated writers, many of whom grew up in the Twin Cities and are heartbroken by recent events. Before the pandemic hit, I was scheduled to teach this spring for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, a remarkable non

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Knowledge is Truly Food for our Souls

Tonight was the first night of a new class, one that I am teaching with John Schmit, an English Professor at Augsburg College. It’s a sociolinguistics class called Language and Power. On this first night it all came flooding back why teaching here seems so important, why it is both exhilarating and devastating, why I

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Tony and the Blue Book

Tony is a tough guy. Real tough. For the life of me, I can’t imagine most of my students doing anything violent. They look innocent—young and fresh faced, and actually sweet. No kidding. Tony isn’t one of those guys. He looks mean. His eyes don’t smile, even when his mouth does. His hair is close-cropped,

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