Life Behind Barbed Wire: Poetry from New York Youth Incarcerated

Available in



: English
: 978-1936900237


A continuation of the Poetry Behind the Walls series, this collection provides a space and place for the voices of youth who are incarcerated to critically express their experiences related to the criminal justice system, school system, and their community. Grounded in Hip Hop culture, the writing style throughout the series often reflects non-colonial English. The collection promotes social justice and critical thinking about education, poverty, sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression. As a creative outlet and space for expression, this book provides a means for the poets to empower themselves and resist victimization.



Life Behind Barbed Wire is a courageous publication working at the intersections of art and social justice to give voice to incarcerated youth . . . as they breakdown barriers, wage principled critiques, fill the world with hope, and provide a platform for personal and political expression.” 
—Dr. Jason Del Gandio, author, Rhetoric for Radicals



“Love. Home. Hood. Food. Pain – the only thing that separates the poetry in this work from the poetry of other youth is that these bright minds are incarcerated.” 
—Dr. K. Animashaun Ducre, author, A Place We Call Home



“From genocidal land grabs and enslavement to cointelpro and public policies the late great Derrick Bell once described as having the same impact as ‘weekly, random, roundups of several hundred blacks who would be taken to a secluded place and shot,’ the voices of those contained in this volume are those meant to have been silenced long ago. That these voices remain able to convey their suppressed strength and beauty inspires a fear matched only by that which is generated when people organize around these ideas, concerns, issues and spirits.”
  —Dr. Jared Ball, author, I Mix What I Like

Customer Reviews

facilitatory Nocella as an educator has for the last 15 years provided more than 1,500 basic, advanced, and Training for Facilitators collaborative group-building workshops at youth centers, jails, prisons, detention facilities, schools, and college on topics such as negotiation, community circles, conflict transformation, peer-mediation, peace in schools, life skills to youth, hip hop, transformative justice, professional development, diversity and inclusion, environmental education, and curriculum design.
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Hamline University

trainer Nocella with 20 years of community organizing and Leadership experience has provided more than 500 basic and advanced trainings to youth, college students, teachers, unions, and international NGOs for more than a 1,000 organizations such as SEUI, Pax Christi, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, American Friends Service Committee, and Peace Action.

Minority Groups Course
Hennepin County Community College

lecturer Nocella, an intersectional scholar and researcher, regularly gives presentations/lecturers/keynotes on the school to prison pipeline, diversity and inclusion, environmental justice, critical animal studies, disability studies, social movements, hip hop politics, peace and conflict studies, crime and social control.

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St. Cloud State University