Punishment by Nancy Miller Gomez


Nancy Miller Gomez entered Salinas Valley State Prison with a backpack of poems and a fear of being caught in a lockdown. What she discovered was compassion and human connection. The poems and essays in this collection, Gomez’s first, were inspired by her experience teaching writing workshops in jails and prisons. Punishment explores the stories of people serving time in the criminal justice system. It demonstrates the ways creative expression ...

Details Punishment

Release DateMay 1st, 2018

Reviews Punishment

  • Alarie
    Again Rattle has astounded me with its chapbook series selection. I know people who teach poetry writing in prisons, and I find the annual inmate reading the most moving poetry event of the year. It’s easy to think “how poetry saved my life” is hyperbole until you hear the authentic voices of those who have no future. Gomez is an attorney and poetry instructor, not an inmate. I thought she would water down the book’s impact. She did not. ...
  • David Anthony Sam
    Whenever I begin to read a collection of poetry, I hope for that feeling of a wind in my chest, that the “top if my head is taken off.” This small collection by Nancy Miller Gomez did that for me.At only 9 poems and 2 short autobiographical prose pieces, “Punishment” has more power than many other, much longer collections. Gomez has translated her experiences teaching poetry in prison into vital, living verse, without in any way betraying...
  • Drew
    A lot of people talk the talk but Nancy Miller Gomez is clearly walking the walk too -- admitting the heinousness of a career in reality TV and the redemption to be found in teaching poetry to prisoners. This slim chapbook is only 28 pages, five of them blank. But there's no scarcity of content, feeling or purpose here. "Poetry was the life raft I'd climbed onto," Gomez says at one point. Anyone who writes or reads poetry knows how true her state...
  • Abby N Lewis
    "These men had discovered that the pain and hurt and anger they'd carried throughout their lives could be placed onto the page and shared with others. And that sharing of stories cut through our differences and loneliness, connecting us in a way that mattered."This chapbook is an observation on life in prison, and the power of poetry on the lives of these prisoner. Each one of these poems tugged at my heart in a different way. All of the chapbook...
  • Jimmy
    One of Rattle's 2018 chapbook contest winners about a woman teaching poetry in prison. As always, Rattle gives its subscribers so much for the cost of a subscription.