Book Club News
Cari Carpenter, Elizabeth Juckett, and Katy Ryan continue to meet every other week with the Women’s Book Club at Hazelton Correctional Center in Bruceton Mills, W.Va. In recent months, the women read and discussed The New Jim Crow, A Lesson Before Dying, There Are No Children Here, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Over the summer, WVU English Professors Catherine Gouge and Mark Brazaitis visited the group and offered wonderful writing workshops. Below are thoughts from the facilitators.
Elizabeth: “What a pleasure to be a member of the Hazelton women’s book club! The women's investment in the reading and writing we do together is intense, highly insightful, a gift. When we sit in a discussion circle with each other twice a month, we create a new kind of space for sharing experiences and insights, a circle comprised of the worlds we have each lived in and the constrained world we briefly share, plus the limitless world of the mind and literary imagination. I feel privileged to have a place in this circle.”
Cari: “I wonder, now, how I could have missed it before: enormous rolls of metal fencing, with barbs so harsh that it is probably several models past what I know as barbed wire.
This, perhaps, is what barbed wire looks like to an ant. It glints silver in an early evening light that, instead of softening it, only makes it more garish. Stretching as far as I can see, so massive that it wraps back upon itself as if it cannot be contained in a single row.
All this, to keep the women in. Women who are black and white and brown. Liberal and conservative. From here and everywhere else. Women who have money and who do not.
Women who know the law or business or other languages or who have read nearly every book we mention. Women who have made mistakes and have been forgiven, or who have not. Mothers who are close to their children and mothers who are not. Women who represent a thousand possibilities.
Women who are all rendered, in an instant, equally unworthy by that monstrous, inscrutable, relentless fence.”