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Lyrical Vagabonds is a poetry and art book created by inmates of Sterling Correctional Facility in Sterling Colorado.
Lyrical Vagabonds is a poetry and art book created by inmates of Sterling Correctional Facility in Sterling Colorado.
Lyrical Vagabonds is a poetry and art book created by inmates of Sterling Correctional Facility in Sterling Colorado.
16 backers pledged $3,226 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Lyrical Vagabonds - A Collection

$3,226

16

  It all began with a simple question from one prisoner to another: what's a sonnet? Matt (the guy who knew about such things) started to explain, "A sonnet is a poem with 14 lines - three quatrains and a couplet, with a rhyme scheme." Seeing the other prisoner's eyes glaze over, Matt changed course, "Tell you what," he said, "why don't we just write one." Within a year, the entire prison was infected with the poetry bug. Even the administration got involved, sponsoring a year of poetry classes followed by a poetry slam. The core group took to calling themselves the Lyrical Vagabonds, partly in homage to the seminal work "Lyrical Ballads" by Wordsworth and Coleridge.

  Now the Vagabonds want to share their unique creative endeavor with the world by publishing a collection of their best work - with a twist. Instead of merely publishing this interesting poetry they will also publish new art and poems inspired by one another in a never-before-seen synergism. Please, help these men share their amazing and unique journey to light in the midst of darkness with the larger world.

  The painting on the main page of this campaign, The Ballerina, was done by Chris Shetskie and is an example of the quality of artwork to be found in the book. 

Here is the poem which inspired The Ballerina:

Meditation 7 by Matthew Labonte

I rise

Movement

Ease and peace

Touch breaks knees

Space contracts to a line

Dilates to a point

Disappears

And from the ashes

I rise.

Below, is one of my favorite poems to appear in the book and the painting inspired by the poem: 

Hail
Hail

 Hail by Nathan Ybanez

 She decided to plant a garden.

The boys became Men.

Moved away. Dandelion pollen.

Grandkids appeared rarely,

Desert blooms...So,

In went snow-peas and onion;

Bok choy, radish, garlic.

Ordered rows of new bulbs,

Unruly clusters of dark greens;

Elongated white stalks

Amid thin flat pods.

Working the earth, her

Hands forgot to ache.

She fertilized, weeded,

Chased bugs away - 

Until the hail came.

Hot, angry pellets

Broke stem and tore leaf;

Stripped flowers from trees.

She couldn't ID the mess

Of meanly mangled bodies.

Now the kids come often

And ask about her garden.

She says her hands throb,

The sun's too hot,

She hates the war.

And that their fathers

Were beautiful men.

 All of the poetry is currently in my possession and is being formatted into a document for publication. The artwork is still ongoing and many supplies are needed. The money you donate will be used for the following:

  • art supplies
  • scanning/photography fees for finished pieces
  • shipping fees for finished pieces
  • purchase of an ISBN number
  • living expenses (one individual will be doing the majority of the artwork and does not receive a living wage from the state/prison because he works in the hobby shop. since he will be almost completely responsible for the illustration of the book and spending all his free time on the illustrations, the others involved thought it would be nice if he could receive a bit of money to properly feed himself while doing all the work)
  • and miscellaneous fees and expenses associated with taxes, opening accounts, and communication expenses between project collaborators.
  • note, Colorado DOC takes a flat 20% fee off any funds inmates receive, which has been factored into the amount of funding we are asking for.

  The meager wages these men are afforded by the prison cover only such essentials as food and medical co-pays, and aren't sufficient to also purchase the art supplies needed for this project. The men taking part in this project don't have access to computers or the internet, so the project is being handled for them by friends. We are doing this because we support them and this project - but we can't carry the expenses of the supplies and fees.

  Lyrical Vagabonds  gives voice to those who have gone unheard for decades. It is a voice worth listening to. Please, help support this wonderful project and the unconquerable spirit of poetry and art.

  You can meet some of the participants in the project on the Concrete Echoes website http://www.concreteechoes.com/ or the Concrete Echoes facebook page https://www.facebook.com/concreteechoes.

Please follow us on Twitter for updates as the book and campaign progress - @VagabondsPoetry

Risks and challenges

There is no guarantee when the finished book will be published. As stated above, the poetry part of the book is done and ready to go and we are waiting on the completion of the art - but art can't be rushed if you want it to be good. The supplies are needed first, then time to complete the art. Once the art is completed, it all needs to be scanned, the scans need to be combined with the existing poetry, and then it can be sent to be printed. We are estimating completion of the book and delivery of rewards within 10 months of fundraising.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Bronze Level: Handwritten thank you from participating poet or artist.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Silver Level: Specially printed greeting card featuring poetry and art from the book.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Gold Level: Specially printed greeting card featuring poetry and art from the book, and Lyrical Vagabonds T-shirt.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Platinum Level: Specially printed greeting card featuring poetry and art from the book, Lyrical Vagabonds T-shirt, your name in a special acknowledgments section of the book, and a unique poem on a subject of your choice in any form - written and signed by a Lyrical Vagabond.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Diamond Level: all of the above and a unique painting on a subject of your choice by a Lyrical Vagabond artist.

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Funding period

- (45 days)