Dispatches | June 23, 2014

By Michael Nye

For several months now, TMR has been publishing a “Literature on Lockdown” series, which are essays written by US prisoners and the men and women that teach writing and literature in these prisons. One of the goals of our magazine is to discover not just new voices, but under-represented and often ignored voices from the margins of our culture. We’ve received a positive, enthusiastic response to this series—curated by our social media editor, Alison Balaskovits–and we’re hoping you can help us out.

We were recently contacted by the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. They are attempting to become a nonprofit for the purpose of improving their structure and offering better services to their students by being able to seek a greater range of funds and reduce sponsorship fees on their donations. In order to make it to this goal, they are need to raise donations to match a Minnesota State Arts Board grant.

What MPWW does is offer writing and literature courses inside the Minnesota prisons. These include fiction writing, essay writing, poetry, spoken word, oral story telling, children’s literature, and fantasy writing. MPWW also coordinate reading, brings in visiting writers, publishes a literary journal, and offers postal-mail-based writing mentorships for inmates. This is all done by a core group of instructors who donate their time and energy to the common good. These are serious writers, with diverse backgrounds ranging from social work to factory workers.

Please go here to help support Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and its goal of becoming a nonprofit. Even a little bit of money is a tremendous help toward their goal. You don’t have to give much to make a difference.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye