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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I call for you cultivation of strength in the dark.
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.
Cell at the Eastern State Penitentiary, now a museum, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Corridor, Eastern State Penitentiary, now a museum, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
North end of Cell Block "A," Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay. Courtesy of the Library of Congress
John McCain with squadron. John S. McCain, III Collection (AFC/2001/001/07736), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress