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Prose and Cons Students and Area Poets Share Their Talents
Date: July 27, 2015 02:04PM

Prose and Cons Students and Area Poets Share Their Talents

In honor of National Poetry Month this past April, eight performers came to the library at Racine Correctional Institution (Wisconsin) to present poetry, spoken word, and music to members of the Prose and Cons inmate creative writing group. The evening was divided equally between the visitors performing their work to the inmate writers, and the inmate writers sharing their creative talents with this talented group. This program was a collaboration between RCI librarian Kimberly Graba and Racine Public Library librarian Nicholas Demske.

In addition to working as a librarian at the Racine Public Library, Nick Demske is author of a self-titled collection of poetry, which was picked by Joyelle McSweeney for the 2010 Fence Modern Poets Series prize. He is also the author of a chapbook, Skeetly Deetly Deet (Strange Cage press, 2012) and a chapbook which was published by from Spork Press earlier this year. Nick was featured in 2011 as one of fifteen emerging poets to watch for by Poets and Writers magazine and his self-titled book was chosen as one of the 10 Best Books of Poetry in 2010 by a Believer Magazine reader survey. In 2011, he completed a month-and-a-half-long book tour that traveled over 10,000 miles across the whole of America. His work has been taught at Notre Dame, Columbia College, Illinois Wesleyan, Marquette, Emory, Cleveland State and dozens of other schools across the country. In Racine, he curates the BONK! performance series and occasionally blogs for thebonknessmonster.com.

One of the poets appearing at RCI with Nick Demske was Nicholas Moore. Nicholas is a singer, actor, dancer, and spoken word artist. Born in Racine, he has lived in Kenosha most of his life. Nicolas has been performing and sharing his art for over 12 years. He has traveled to many places around the country sharing art with various students, organizations, churches, random crowds at open mics, and the people who life find it necessary for him to connect with. Nicolas believes that life is to be lived and love is to be shared. His expression of art is a reflection of that message.

The group plans to visit RCI again in July for another collaborative, creative performance. The inmates in RCI’s Prose and Cons creative writing group also plan to once again share and perform their work. As long time member and award winning inmate writer Daniel Scheidell says, “If I can fly – I am free. If I am free – I can fly. I can write – of flying. I can write – of freedom. I am writing myself free!”
by: Kimberly Graba, RCI

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