Words No Bars Can Hold - Literacy Learning in Prison - Deborah Appleman

Deborah Appleman Presents on her New Book: Words No Bars Can Hold | Zenith Book Store | Duluth, MN.

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Reading by Professor Deborah Appleman on her New Book:
Words No Bars Can Hold
: Literacy Learning in Prison

Thursday, April 30, 2020
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Zenith Bookstore
318 N. Central Avenue
Duluth, MN 55807


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 new book Words No Bars Can Hold: Literacy Learning in Prison, in which she shares her experiences teaching creative writing to high-security prisoners.

Words No Bars Can Hold provides a rare glimpse into literacy learning under the most dehumanizing conditions. Deborah Appleman chronicles her work teaching college-level classes at a high-security prison for men, most of whom are serving life sentences. Through narrative, poetry, memoir, and fiction, the students in Appleman’s classes attempt to write themselves back into a society that has erased their lived histories.

“The author writes not only lucidly, but also with great elegance and power. Her position is based on her profound experience as an instructor and a lover of literature―she has taught 150 incarcerated men. The writing samples she provides are simply extraordinary, not only because of their philosophical and poetical quality, but also because of the insights the writers demonstrate into their lamentable plights. Appleman does more than argue that these men, many of whom have committed heinous crimes and will never be released, are still human beings capable of moral redemption: she shows readers this through their writing. Moreover, the author makes a convincing case for the power of stories, not just to entertain and distract, but also to reimagine the writers’ very selves and supply the sources for inspiration that sometimes life itself refuses. An affecting meditation on the ability of literature to empower inmates who are too often dismissively diminished by society.”- Kirkus Review

Deborah Appleman lives in Minnesota and is the Hollis L. Caswell Professor of Educational Studies and director of the summer writing program at Carleton College. Since 2007, she has taught language, literature, and creative writing courses at a high-security prison for men in the upper Midwest.

Cost: Free

Responses are appreciated by Monday, April 27 if you plan to attend, by clicking here and completing the subsequent form.

Questions? Contact the Office of Alumni Relations at alumni-office@carleton.edu or 800-729-2586.



The event is finished.


Apr 30 2020


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Zenith Book Store
318 N. Central Avenue Duluth, MN 55807

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