By Heart

Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives

Judith Tannenbaum

Judith Tannenbaum has taught poetry in a wide variety of settings from primary school classrooms to maximum security prisons. Among her books are the memoir, Disguised as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin (2000); two texts for teachers – Teeth, Wiggly as Earthquakes: Writing Poetry in the Primary Grades (2000) and (with Valerie Chow Bush) Jump Write In! Creative Writing Exercises for Diverse Communities, Grades 6-12 (2005)  – as well as seven poetry collections, most recently Carve This Body into Your Home: Poems and Collages (2012). In California, Tannenbaum created Arts-in-Corrections's newsletter, wrote their book-length Manual for Artists Working in Prison, and developed the Handbook for Arts in the Youth Authority Program. She has also completed a feasibility study for arts programming in Minnesota state prisons; chaired panels and served as keynote speaker at many conferences on prison, prison arts, and teaching arts; and taught in prisons in eight states. Tannenbaum currently serves as training coordinator for WritersCorps in San Francisco.