poems and other observations
by John Corley

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poems and other observations

What is it like to be handed a life sentence in a state prison? As the decades pass, how does the human soul conform to penitentiary life? This book is as close as most of us will ever come to understanding the isolation, alienation and also moments of irony and humor such a life extracts from 80% of the inhabitants of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, the lifers.

John Corley through his literary and journalistic skill provides that rare opportunity to go behind the bars, the locked doors, and into prison dorms, workrooms and common areas where he lives out his incarceration.
Loneliness, he has found, is “fertile ground for poetry”.

A prison writer, you say. Yes. Not only the principal writer for The Angolite magazine for many years, but also a poet who understands the darkness that brought him here. Corley speaks with his inside voice as he searches for a way out.

- Burk Foster, retired Professor of Criminal Justice
University of Louisiana, Lafayette

John Corley is the associate editor of The Angolite, the news magazine of the Louisiana State Penitentiary. He is a recipient of PEN America fiction and playwriting awards and a National Council on Crime and Delinquency journalism award.

“Mr. Corley also authored a review of Murder on the Teche, our title by Tom Aswell. To read it, click here.”