Brian Daldorph's launch of "Words is a Powerful Thing: Twenty Years of Teaching Creative Writing at Douglas County Jail"
"Words is a Powerful Thing" is Daldorph’s record of teaching at the Douglas County Jail for the two decades between 2001-2020, showing how the lives of everyone involved in the class—but especially the inmates who came to class week after week—benefitted from what happened every Thursday afternoon in that classroom, where for two hours inmates and instructors became a “circle of ink and blood,” writing together, reciting their poems, telling stories, and having a few good laughs.
The book brings into the light the works of more than fifty gifted inmate writers whose works deserve attention. Their poetry speaks of “what really matters” to all of us and gives the reader sustained insight into the role that creativity plays in aiding survival and bringing positive change for inmates, and, in turn, for all of us.
Daldorph’s account of his teaching experience not only takes the reader inside the daily life in a county jail but also sets the work done in the writing class within the larger context of inmate education in the US corrections system, where education is one of the few lifelines available to inmates. "Words Is a Powerful Thing" provides a teacher’s guide for instructors working with incarcerated writers, offering an extensive examination of both the challenges and benefits of education inside the walls.
This book launch will involve Daldorph, Sherry Gill (Programs Director at Douglas County Jail since 2015), and writing class instructors Mike Hartnett and Ayah Wakkad. The event will also feature the words of former inmate Antonio Sanchez-Day, who later became a co-instructor of Daldorph's class.