Poetry is the biggest category in the annual Koestler Awards for arts in the criminal justice system, receiving nearly 1000 entries a year. While art materials can be difficult to get hold of in prison, everyone is entitled to paper and something to write with.
Koestler Voices: New Poetry from Prisons Vol. 4 gathers together 45 poems from the 2022 and 2023 Koestler Awards, showcasing just some of the inspiring poetry written by people in the criminal justice system, edited in-house for the first time by members of the Koestler Arts team.
The fourth volume features a foreword by poet, playwright and author Joelle Taylor; winner of the T. S. Eliot prize for poetry, author of numerous collections including C+nto & Othered Poems and curator of IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, the 2023 Koestler Arts National Exhibition at the Southbank Centre, London.
“While it can be argued that all writing responds to the idea of hope, there is of course a deep grief that circles the book like crows above a playground as the authors consider a life of loss: of family, of children; even the loss of a reflection the writer recognises … But in the writing, connection is remade … This is poetry as intimate cinema, poetry as witness, as prayer.”
Koestler Arts is the UK’s best known prison arts charity that aims to inspire people with experience of the criminal justice system to take part in the arts through an annual awards programme, with categories including fine art, music, poetry and performance.
Paperback, 94 pages
(Please note there are no discounts on this publication by the Koestler Charitable Trust)