keeping hope in jail

A woman in jail must learn to cultivate hope for herself, or she will become despondent and bitter.

Writing is a healthy, pro-social exercise that can cultivate hopeful visions of life-to-come.

keeping hope in jail

By Toni Holopainen

Some of our long-term women writers at Chittenden Correctional Facility in Vermont have been trickling out of the facility, making those left behind miss their circle members.

I decided it was time to pull out Lisel Mueller’s poem Hope to help us rekindle that eternal well-spring within ourselves.

Incarcerated writers were encouraged to imitate Mueller’s style by visually describing what hope looks and feels and sounds like–to them.

The first piece, written by a younger 20-something, is rich in insight about the unbreakable bond she carries with her child. The second is whimsical and fun–please enjoy!


“It is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.”
Hope is love. Unconditional and pure
as snow falling fresh from bitter skies.
Stinging and painful with all its beauty.  Continue reading