Poet-activist Freesia McKee cares about more than simply writing and publishing her own poetry. Along with some of her friends and fellow writers she’s been collecting books for prisoners, leading workshops behind bars and helping increase awareness of prison life and writing by working with a special issue of Cream City Review, a literary magazine published out of the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee.
McKee and her fellow writers are especially motivated by the incarceration crisis in her home state. She reports that “Wisconsin's prison population has grown 1000% in the last 40 years, compared with a 24% increase in the state's general population. Such growth is a reflection of the nation-wide mass incarceration that Michelle Alexander and others have deemed "the New Jim Crow." Proportionately, Wisconsin locks up more Native American and African American men than any other state, and Milwaukee houses what may be the most heavily incarcerated area of its size in the world--the 53206 zip code. The work of Wisconsin's creative writers is acutely tied to ending mass incarceration once and for all.”
In her Poetry Spoken Here interview McKee lists ways to get involved with bringing poetry and literature into prisons. For a list of organizations involved with prison literacy, getting books inside prisons, donating books, and more, click here.