This was a benefit held at historical Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs to support the Mt. McGregor Arts Fund, providing poetry workshops for inmates at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility. The program was introduced by Gordon Boyd & Cara Benson, who runs the poetry workshop.

Cara talked about her experience with the poetry, & politics, of working in the prison system, then introduced 2 poets who had been in her workshop.

D. Anderson (standing), S. Dalpiaz (seated, right)

Derek Anderson read a weaving, lyrical piece with repeating lines, “My Man Dog,” then a love poem “Rock-a-bye Baby.”

Seán Dalpiaz read the more philosophical “Calvin Klein Thought” then a descriptive piece about an old woman in a supermarket.

Cara then showed a short video interview with 4 inmates Mo Santana, Chris Taylor, Michael Adam & RC Brown, discussing their experiences in the writing workshop, & each read a poem they had written. The video was produced by Cara Benson & Joel Patterson of Mountaintop Video.

The program ended with a panel discussion with poets Derek Anderson, Seán Dalpiaz & Judith Brink of the Prison Action Network, discussing the effect of the poetry workshop & other programs on inmates & the issue of prison reform.

Poetry is everywhere, even behind prison walls, since poetry resides in the human heart. If you would like to contribute money to keep the program going you can donate online at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region  — please specify Mt. McGregor Arts Fund.