The stories. . . are enticing observations about life, literature, incarceration, and the human condition, which make for a book that is hard to put down. Shelton writes with skill and candor about society's exiles and their hidden talents, which he was able to bring out in his workshops; his own talents as a writer give the book its power. Both eye-opening and enchanting, this volume would certainly be a worthwhile addition to any collection.
—Library Journal starred review
In a spellbinding memoir chronicling the uncommon challenges and unexpected rewards of reaching out to some of society's most complex and generally forgotten members, Shelton's triumphant paean to the tenacity of the creative spirit celebrates the courage of hopeless men who bravely found a way to express their essential humanity.
This book is a tribute to Richard Shelton's artistry, to the power of words, and to the talent of men behind bars. You have saved me before they might have destroyed me,' writes one of his former workshop participants, I am singing.' In this deeply felt and honest memoir, Shelton teaches us the meaning of compassion and makes a moving plea for the arts in prison.
—Jean Trounstine, author of Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women's Prison