The first copies of Hear Me, See Me: Incarcerated Women Write greeted me at the door when I arrived home from vacation.
What a gift to hold the words and voices of 60 of Vermont’s women prisoners and ex-offenders in my actual hands!
The front cover is more striking than the JPGs from publisher Orbis Books indicated, and the 12 inside color images of the women’s artwork provide soft and beautiful accents to the writings.
Here’s a snippet from the book’s introduction to whet your appetite:
“In some ways, justice-involved persons serve as the biblical lepers of today, contemporary untouchables cast aside by communities across the United States. Many remain disconnected from families, friends and healthy networks the rest of us take for granted. They live on the periphery of society, struggling to survive, tending their own psychic wounds in isolation. No wonder nearly half of today’s female (and male) inmates will return to prison’s predictable structure and quasi community within a three-year timeframe, where the basic human needs of food, shelter and safety can be counted upon.
Most tragically, these women live cut off from their own voices and dreams, not believing they even have a right to them. By writing together and witnessing the life stories of these incarcerated women, we provide them with a sacred space in which to reconnect with their lost humanity.”