Calvin is a poet ambassador with Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop.
BOOKS BY CALVIN
Honorable Mention for the 2016 'In the Margins' Nonfiction award.
“The pieces showcased here are moving and real.”
— George Pelecanos, novelist and writer/producer of The Wire
The Untold Story of the Real Me is a collection of poems written by young people who were charged and incarcerated as adults at the age of 16 or 17. All poets are members of the Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop; many are currently incarcerated in the DC Jail or federal prison. Their work explores themes of parenthood, love, pain, identity, race, and freedom in voices both raw and powerful. This collection also features individual profiles of Free Minds members who are home from prison and serving as Poet Ambassadors in the violence prevention initiative, “On the Same Page.” Already being used in classrooms across the country to start conversations around youth violence and the justice system, The Untold Story of the Real Me provides a new take on the power of one voice to speak truth to pain, to seek redemption and healing.
Free Minds uses books, creative writing, and peer support to awaken DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential. Through creative expression, job readiness training, and violence prevention outreach, these young poets achieve their education and career goals, and become powerful voices for change in the community. Learn more.
This book is a critical piece of work that helps those who work with encouraging text engagement, for it was produced by youth who through poor literacy and life management in their worlds, suffer from huge gaps in their language skills.
They have been provided one of the first chances in their young lives, while incarcerated, to have a chance at navigating through the jungle of written expression to get their messages out to the world of the lessons they have learned from the mistakes they have made in life.
The poems are beautiful. This organization seems to really make a difference, helping young people articulate their frustrations and hopes, and channeling them into positive paths for their futures.
I found compelling a number of the poems and essays.
El Camino (The Road) by Luis is a bilingual poem about the difficult and unforgiving road that they are on.
My Face by Derrick is a poem about the external person and the secrets on the inner one.
In the essay, The Color of My Skin, by Sergio, provides the reader an empathic insight of his view into the world.