The Power of Writing: Poetry's Role in Prisons and Beyond in Inspiring Hope and Change by Izzy Fandl
Updated: Aug 6
Izzy Fandl '25, Sidwell Friends
On December 4th, 2022, Write to Right held an event at Sidwell Friends. The event invited students and parents of the school to meet some of the formerly incarcerated poets that are part of the program. This event helped solidify the bond between the Write to Right program and the Sidwell Friends community. At the event, the poets of the program read their own work and told their stories of how the program helped them. They shared their personal experiences and in doing so, formed connections with the members of the Sidwell community. After sharing their stories, both the poets and the event attendees read poems from other incarcerated individuals and commented on the work. The poets helped the attendees determine what to say by sharing their own experiences with people commenting on their poems.
As a Sidwell student that knew very little about the program beforehand, I did not know what to expect when attending the event. However, it was a truly rewarding experience getting to meet the poets and hear their stories. The environment was warm and welcoming, and the poets were kind and inspiring to talk to. When reading the poems of prisoners in prisons across the country, I gained a new perspective on the world, the perspective of people my age who were living a completely different experience. This resonated with me, and inspired me to want to make a difference and use my own words to tell my story. Not only did this experience connect me to new members of the community, it strengthened my bond with the members of my own community by giving us a common goal, a desire for change. That is why I am grateful to have attended the event and why I hope that Write to Right continues to hold these events so that more people become inspired to make a meaningful difference in the world.