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courtesy of Chris Stuart
Only the Dead Can Kill: Stories from Jail is a collection of stories and poems by men and women who are incarcerated that show the injustice of who is targeted by the United States prison industrial complex. Excerpts of Margo Perin’s childhood story of growing up on the lam is included. Only the Dead Can Kill was funded by the Creative Work Fund and is available in print and on CD.
As youth and adults continue to be targeted for incarceration, due to the hunger of the prison industrial complex, racism and poverty, rarely do we have the opportunity to hear the voices of the 2.5 million men and women who are currently incarcerated in the thousands of jails and prisons and ICE detention centers across the United States. In this unique, enlightening collection of autobiographical stories and poems, men and women who are incarcerated in San Francisco County Jail tell their life stories. In their raw, powerful voices, these emerging writers tell their stories with unflinching candor. This profoundly personal and courageous public anthology removes the mask of invisibility of the men and women sequestered behind the walls of our jails and prisons.
Including Margo Perin’s own story of being raised by a criminal father, Only the Dead Can Kill crosses new boundaries of literature and creates a bridge between people living on both sides of the walls. The writers’ voices call on us to shine a light into the shadows of our own experiences, and find communion and our own humanity.
“Men and women incarcerated in San Francisco Jail, locked into lives only partly of their own making, begin to pick the lock by naming humiliations, recalling shame, owning thwarted longings. Margo Perin gave them the courage to try and they, in turn, inspired her to enter her own troubled past. Together these writers push back the dark. Readers willing to bear witness to these raw accounts may discover themselves as belonging to a larger human community than they imagined.”
- Bell Gale Chevigny, editor of “Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing.”