Kent Books to Prisoners

"Kent Books to Prisoners is a collective group that supports prisoners by providing them with books and other reading material that the prisoners request. We are also encouraging prisoners to be socially/politically conscious through our distribution of reading materials and other interactions we have such as pen pal relationships. We do a broad spectrum of other prisoner support/consciousness raising projects such as fostering pen pal relationships, making b-day cards for political prisoners, educational workshops on prisoner related topics. Overall, this group is not just a mere "charity", because the prison industrial complex uses prisons as institutions which perpetuate the cycles of classism, racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression that make the U.S.. the biggest prisoner nation in the world; thus our solidarity and support are acts of resistance to oppression.That's pretty much our mission statement." — Michael Lucas, member of Kent Books to Prisoners. Contact him at

Click here to visit Kent Books to Prisoners' Facebook page.

Below are a few examples of the poetry that Kent Books to Prisoners receives through correspondence.

Sound of my Prison

Jason Campbell #476-229
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, OH 44505

The sounds of my prison
Are making me crazy, this I know for certain
No, Ifs’, Ands, or Maybe’s
The slamming doors and the jingling keys
Compete in my mind for space with men’s screams.
For days on end I wish for not
But silence and peace,
Receiving instead, fires, floods
And alarms that never cease.
I have seen streams of blood and tears
On the faces of prisoners,
And know none have fathomed
The prayers they make as petitioners.
This blood and tears of which I speak?
Know that they are placed there,
By corrupt politicians, judges, and guards
By whom prisoners are beat.
Many are seen as weak
But soon enough their corrupt system
Will become curdled and sour.
Already upon us the signs do appear
In the strengths of unrest
And the search for justice that are here. Persecution, prosecution, and execution
May be the current order of the day,
But one day soon, we as a people
Will have to rise and say:
“Enough is enough; I will take no more,
Put an end to degradations
And lift up the poor!” 
On that day we will become united 
And they will fear 
For united we stand 
And their power is sheared. 
Now, I know that I am a prisoner 
For my prison is made of stone and steel 
Yet even if you are not incarcerated 
A prisoner you maybe, if my pain you feel. 
If disillusioned, fed-up 
And down trodden you be, 
Then look and listen to the sounds around you 
And you prison you shall see. 
So…The sounds of my prison 
May weaken my mind, 
But be assured, that in my heart 
My strength I will find! 
For in my heart; 
I find my will; 
My strength to persevere 
They can never kill!

On the McCain Attack Ad Linking Obama to Bill Ayers, Former Leader of the Weather Underground, Who Once Detonated a Bomb in the Capitol Building.

Sean Swain #243-205
Mansfield Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 788
Mansfield, OH 44901

Bill Ayers was wrong for making a bomb,
Or so says John McCain,
Because women and children Bill never killed
Dropping it from a plane.

The Wretched of the Earth

Sean Swain #243-205
Mansfield Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 788
Mansfield, OH 44901

I was born in freedom’s graveyard
‘neath a tombstone where my name scarred
The edifice, stone cold and bone hard, 
Wrapped was I in burning flag. 
An empty stomach, angry, held tight, 
Another fist to clutch the long night 
Another hand fixed ‘twixt the gun sight 
Just one more toe to tag. 
Raised by ashes in the dirt and dust 
Cutting teeth then flesh on rust 
They come to teach me what is just— 
The oppressors’ fists to kiss me. 
And when I taste that awful wrath 
Kicked down that darkly chosen path 
I’ll see it boils down to math— 
How many I take with me.

I Shall Not Die

Sean Swain #243-205
Mansfield Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 788
Mansfield, OH 44901

I shall not die 
a thousand deaths of compromise 
giving up names in exchange 
for food or a blanket. 
I will bite my own arm 
to smother screams
and rob you of satisfaction
when you disassemble me.
I shall not die
shamefully, my chin to my chest
kneeling before the humiliating hole
I dug for myself,
waiting upon the pistol shot.
I will always refuse the blindfold.
I shall not die
abandoned + alone
obliterated from the memories
of those I love,
my fate never questioned.
Someone will always stand in the rain
outside your office window, 
my name on a cardboard sign.
No matter how many times you cut my throat
or hang me from my bedsheet
or bludgeon me with your nightstick
or fire your bullets into my brain,
whether you encircle me in a South African bantustan
or a Coca-Cola factory in Blivia,
an alley behind the stonewall
or a prison in the heart of it all,
I shall not die.
A million times —
I shall not die:
You will only get my corpse.