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By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives

2 Ratings: 4.5
1 review about By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives

By Heart is a memoir that makes me want to get more involved with poetry and the arts.

  • Aug 13, 2010

By Heart is an unique memoir. I have never read anything like it. Each chapter alternates betwween two people. Judith Tannenbaum and Spoon Jackson are both passionate about writing and about teaching the arts in general. They have a respect first as teacher and student and now as fellow artists. The photos in the book is evidence of the strength of their relationship that has now lasted for over two decades. I am amazed by the achievements of both individuals. Spoon Jackson is an accomplished actor and writer. He is also a successful teacher. His poems have been featured in movies and short films. Judith Tannenbaum is a single mother who has taught writing and art programs in prisons and schools across the country.

There are excerpts from poems included in this book I find very moving. I want to read more of Spoon Jackson's poem "No Beauty In Cell Bars" after reading a portion of it here. I love the poem "Birthday Party" written by a woman named Myrna Scott. This is a poem that Judith enjoys. This is a wonderful poem about celebrating old age. "Dover Beach" is another poem I want to read after reading several lines of it in the book.

The quality of prison life is different for each facility. This is something that Spoon Jackson is very honest about. Some prisons do not have any arts programs. Prison actually changes Spoon Jackson's life for the better, and that is what makes his life so fascinating to read. By Heart is a memoir that motivates me to read and write poetry and get more involved in the arts. 


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