A Bit of Etheridge Knight

Last spring, I taught a writing course in a maximum security prison. This was the first time I had ever done this, and it was a profound experience in ways I am not yet able to articulate. I can’t yet describe it in a way that doesn’t make it feel like I’m talking about myself, and one thing I am sure of is that of all the expression created in the course, mine deserves the least attention.

This semester, some brave teachers at my institution have stepped into that space to deliver knowledge and opportunity, and I think of them every day.

This all reminds me of the opening section of an Etheridge Knight poem called “Haiku.” It reads:

Easter guard tower

glints in sunset; convicts rest

like lizards on rocks.

I entered this section of poetry as the prompt into the three AI art generators I have been playing with. The results were…ironically comforting? (Another thought I will need to work at articulating.) More importantly, Etheridge Knight is a poetic blessing and you should give him a try if you have not read his work before.

Renderings of the stanza:

Midjourney
Dall-E
Stable Diffusion