To read this great editorial from Mass Live on 3-27-14, click here:
Voices from Inside regularly performs at colleges, churches and other organizations. This public group is called VFI/Out and is composed of previously incarcerated women who enjoy reading their work in public and having discussions with the audience about writing, jail, and their own path. Many of these women are in our writing group at AISS (AFter Incarceration Support Services).
At a recent college reading in Springfield, we used "audience survey" cards to get feedback from the audience about the impact of the performance on them. Here's what we learned:
90% of students said that VFI/Out's presentation "changed my perceptions and beliefs about incarcerated women."
All students said that the VFI/Out performance "changed my thinking about whether incarcerated women can play positive roles in society."
More than half the audience said they were "significantly motivated to learn more about who we incarcerate and why."
One student wrote, "Thank you for coming to share with us today. I have always had strong opinions about people who are incarcerated and you helped change my mind by showing me a different perspective. I wish you all the best of luck! :)"
The writing group at AISS (After Incarceration Support Services) said so long to one of its long time facilitators, Lani M, on March 4th. Lani has been a pillar of the group for two years, and is taking a break to work on a theater project at a local residential program for women in recovery. We will miss her and hope she comes back soon!
We had a great group of ten new volunteer facilitators at our one-day training on Saturday, March 1, 2014. The Smith Poetry Center is a beautiful warm space for our training and we are so grateful for it.
Thanks to lead trainer Karen Buchinsky, and helpers Heather Johnson and Katie Parker.
And welcome Judy, Sara, Tiffany, Ally, Beth, Donna, Kerry, Miriam and Sara and Margaret.
VFI/Out appeared at Springfield Technical Community College Wed. March 11 as part of the college's Ovation Series. We had two shows with pretty full houses of students and staff. The readers: Courtney, Deborah, Sonia and Katie did a wonderful job!! Thanks very much to Phil O'Donohue of STCC for hosting us and for giving us a green room with snacks!!!
VFI IN THE News
VFI's Tara McNamara organized the "Breaking Free" poetry reading in Greenfield--read about it in this Greenfield Recorder story.
An excerpt from Voices Carry's performance at Forbes Library is available for viewing on Youtube, here.
VFI writer Daisy Diaz read a poem to open Hampshire Art Museum's exhibition "Made in America: Unfree Labor in an Age of Mass Incarceration." The exhibit runs through March 10. Check out photos in the February 7 post, to the left.
VFI writer Tara McNamara's poem "Dear Ex-Husband" is featured in the October 29, 2016, issue of the Write Angles Journal. See the poem on our Writing& Prompts page.
WWLP's Ashley Kohl interviews VFI board members about upcoming fundraisers for VFI, April 27, 2016.
From the Heart: VFI Poets interviewed in the Greenfield Recorder, February 12, 2016
Hampshire Gazette Reports on VFI Performance at Lander-Grinspoon Academy, February 7, 2016
Interview with VFI Poets on the Bill Newman Show, February 3, 2016
Loud and Clear: VFI at Holyoke Community College, November 18, 2015
Women Share Stories While in Jail, June 18, 2015