Watch full episode 25:26

To Prisoners

Elisa New discusses Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem with Senator John McCain, playwright Anna Deavere Smith, poets Reginald Dwayne Betts and Li-Young Lee, and exonerated prisoners from the Innocence Project.

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Read the Poem

To Prisoners

I call for you cultivation of strength in the dark.
Dark gardening
in the vertigo cold.
In the hot paralysis.
Under the wolves and coyotes of particular silences.


Text of “To Prisoners” by Gwendolyn Brooks taken from To Disembark, Third World Press Foundation, 1981.

Read the full poem