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Reading between Lines, Writing behind Bars: Creative Writing & Incarceration with Iron City Magazine, University of Arizona Poetry Center

Date(s): Saturday, February 23, 2019, 1:30 p.m.
Farnsworth Terrace, Old Main, ASU Tempe, 400 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Panel, Reading, Talk
Genre and Form(s): Community, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Poetry, Social Justice, Social Practice
Cost: Free

About this Event

Prisoners are people. But too often, their potential to make meaningful contributions to society is overshadowed by their crime, let alone the punitive institutions in which they exist. Join volunteer creative writing teachers from Iron City Magazine: Creative Expressions By and For the Incarcerated, The University of Arizona Poetry Center, and other organizations for "Reading between Lines, Writing between Bars" a panel, reading, and conversation around creative writing and incarceration on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. Featuring Jacqueline Aguilar, Cornelia “Corri” Wells, Diana Marie Delgado, Joe Lockard, C. Connor Syrewicz, Winter Roth, and Derik Roof with Naala Brewer. 

Panelists will share their experiences working with the incarcerated and how they use creative writing to validate their students’ humanity and create greater understanding and transformation in society as a whole. The panel will also feature short readings of prison students’ work with audience Q&A, and more information about how people can get involved. 

While encouraged, RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating information about parking, directions, and other aspects of the event. You do not have to register or RSVP to attend this event. This event is open to the public and free.

About the Panelists

Jacqueline Aguilar is the current Marketing and Managing Editor for Iron City Magazine: Creative Expressions By and For the Incarcerated and co-editor of ASU’s Prison Education Newsletter. She is a senior at Arizona State University majoring in English (Literature) and Communication. She has worked with ASU’s distance-learning Pen Project Prison Internship, critiquing the creative writing of people behind bars.

Cornelia “Corri” Wells is a senior lecturer in ASU’s Department of English, where she oversees the Pen Project Prison Teaching internship and is director of ASU’s Prison Education Programming (PEP) coordinating volunteer teachers from ASU across the curriculum at six local prisons. Dr. Wells also advises the Prison Education Awareness Club (PEAC), which hosts the Annual Prison Education Conference at ASU.

Diana Marie Delgado is the Literary Director of the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her first poetry collection, "Tracing the Horse," is forthcoming from BOA Editions (Fall, 2019). A graduate of the Columbia University MFA Program, her work is often rooted in her experiences growing up Mexican-American in Southern California. 

Joe Lockard is associate professor of English at ASU and has taught weekly classes in literature and writing at the Arizona State Prison Complex–Florence since 2009. His latest book is Prison Pedagogies: Learning and Teaching with Imprisoned Writers, co-edited with Sherry Rankins-Robertson (Syracuse University Press, 2018) and he is co-editor of STEM Education in US Prisons (SUNY Press, forthcoming). 

C. Connor Syrewicz graduated in 2018 from ASU with an MFA in fiction. He spent a year teaching creative writing at the Arizona State Prison Complex–Florence. 

Winter Roth is a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry and psychology. She started working with incarcerated populations in her sophomore year through ASU’s Pen Project Prison Teaching internship. Since then she has taught two in-person courses-Business Skills and Psychology-at the Arizona State Prison Complex–Perryville, and has helped to coordinate the 7th and 8th Annual Prison Education Awareness Conferences as Vice President and President. She plans to attend pharmacy school this fall and continue her work with incarcerated populations. 

Derik Roof is a volunteer poetry teacher at the Arizona State Prison Complex–Florence. He began his experience with prison education as an intern in ASU’s Pen Project, where he taught creative writing to incarcerated writers by correspondence. In July of 2017, he began working with inmates face-to-face in Florence. Derik is also a case manager at a medical respite for individuals facing homelessness. He helps those experiencing homelessness (often previously incarcerated men and women) reach short term and long term goals.

Naala Brewer is a Senior Lecturer in ASU’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. She co-directs ASU’s Prison Education Programming (PEP) and volunteer teaches GED math, precalculus, and calculus I and II at the Arizona State Prison Complex–Florence. She also created and oversees the distance-learning Newton Project internship for math majors who want to tutor prisoners but cannot do so in person. In 2017, she was honored as Volunteer of the Year at Florence State Prison.

About the Literary Fair

Presented in partnership with ASU Open Door as a public extension of the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Literary Fair features two days of talks, readings, and other literary events and activities from authors, publishers, and other organizations from all over the Southwest, February 22 - 23, 2019 at Arizona State University, Tempe Campus. All events are open to the public and free. You do not need to register for the conference in order to attend. To learn more about the fair, visit our website at

About the Author

Logo for Iron City Magazine
Iron City Magazine is an online and print journal devoted entirely to writing and art from the prison world. It is our hope that through this creative platform, incarcerated artists and writers find value in their stories, fuel for personal growth, and pride in their accomplishments. Prisoners are, first and foremost, people. They own stories worthy of telling and sharing.
Logo for University of Arizona Poetry Center
The University of Arizona Poetry Center’s mission is to advance a diverse and robust literary culture that serves a local-to-global spectrum of writers, readers, and new audiences for poetry and the literary arts. The Poetry Center fulfills its mission by maintaining one of the most extensive and accessible collections of contemporary poetry in the nation; hosting 6 to 8 exhibitions per year to showcase its unique holdings and celebrate new work; hosting a Reading and Lecture Series that brings nationally recognized writers to Tucson; and more.

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