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Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry

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Sack Nasty is a compilation of poetry about prison. Unlike the author's blog, the stories told here don’t always fall sunny-side up. They are an outpouring of the uglier edges of prison life. They are about the illusion of dignity, the malleability of justice, and the fluidity (and fluids) of the human condition. These are true stories from 438 days of incarceration. The t Sack Nasty is a compilation of poetry about prison. Unlike the author's blog, the stories told here don’t always fall sunny-side up. They are an outpouring of the uglier edges of prison life. They are about the illusion of dignity, the malleability of justice, and the fluidity (and fluids) of the human condition. These are true stories from 438 days of incarceration. The title, Sack Nasty, refers to the nickname given to the bagged lunches served to jail birds. Prison food is nearly inedible, and the lies cooked up are all too easy to digest, but the important thing to remember is– you don’t have to eat what they feed you. Freedom sustains itself.


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Sack Nasty is a compilation of poetry about prison. Unlike the author's blog, the stories told here don’t always fall sunny-side up. They are an outpouring of the uglier edges of prison life. They are about the illusion of dignity, the malleability of justice, and the fluidity (and fluids) of the human condition. These are true stories from 438 days of incarceration. The t Sack Nasty is a compilation of poetry about prison. Unlike the author's blog, the stories told here don’t always fall sunny-side up. They are an outpouring of the uglier edges of prison life. They are about the illusion of dignity, the malleability of justice, and the fluidity (and fluids) of the human condition. These are true stories from 438 days of incarceration. The title, Sack Nasty, refers to the nickname given to the bagged lunches served to jail birds. Prison food is nearly inedible, and the lies cooked up are all too easy to digest, but the important thing to remember is– you don’t have to eat what they feed you. Freedom sustains itself.

47 review for Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Really fascinating, eye opening, and heartbreaking.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Full Disclosure: I am friends with the author and was given a free copy, so feel free to take my review with a grain of salt. Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry gives an account of the author’s time in prison, but in poetry form.  I found it a very difficult read because the topics covered were often brutal and truly challenged my emotional core. I don’t necessary get emotional when reading, but I do when watching television or movies. The difference, is the music in film manipulates my emotions in a way t Full Disclosure: I am friends with the author and was given a free copy, so feel free to take my review with a grain of salt. Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry gives an account of the author’s time in prison, but in poetry form.  I found it a very difficult read because the topics covered were often brutal and truly challenged my emotional core. I don’t necessary get emotional when reading, but I do when watching television or movies. The difference, is the music in film manipulates my emotions in a way that words rarely do. The last time I felt this emotional from reading, was when I read The Shining by Stephen King. I could feel the hand of Mr. King reaching through the pages of the novel and pushing all the correct emotional buttons to elicit fear and tension. I did not care for it, not one bit. The words contained in Sack Nasty reached out in a similar manner and manipulated my emotions. This made me realize that reading things that challenge my emotional safety net is a good thing. Sack Nasty provided exposure to a different reality of life that I needed exposure to, I feel the entire world needs this exposure. If I continue to stay in my safety bubble, never challenging myself, how can I grow as a person? The underlying theme of the novel is how we, as people, hide the parts of society we do not care to talk about and by not having these difficult conversations we are hurting all of our society. A person should never have the love that words can bring hidden from them, simply because they cannot read them. A person should never be abused by those in position of power for favors. I feel that all people deserve respect. I feel change is needed. I feel these things because of what I have read in this book. Since I am friends with the author, and was given a gratis copy, I will be the first person to say that my review should not be trusted. I would ask though, that you consider opening yourself up to the possibility of having a conversation with Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry. I feel that this conversation will help open your mind and your heart to the darker side of our society and the need for change.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sabina

    Okay, so I might be biased because I know and adore Ra, but this little book of poetry is incredible. It is vulnerable and eye opening and honest--but also you can feel a sense of guarded distance that reflects how now Ra's experience does weigh on her in a way that people on the outside can never truly understand. It's a lovely read that is also a lot to swallow...in just the right way. *PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge #19: A book that was given to you as a gift* (Thank you, Rara!!)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kitt O'Malley

    Powerful poetry written by a woman who spent time in prison eating Sack Nasty lunches. Ra Avis gives voice to the experience of women behind bars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Gritty. Gut wrenching. Honest. Heart breaking. Broken. Eye opening. These are all words that can describe the writing found between the covers of Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry by Ra Avis. Inspiring. Hopeful. Healing. Accepting. Brilliant. These are also words that describe the writing of the amazing Ra Avis who came out of her prison experience a changed woman. I can not even begin to imagine the life of an inmate and Ra has opened my eyes once again to what life on the other side of the bars can be l Gritty. Gut wrenching. Honest. Heart breaking. Broken. Eye opening. These are all words that can describe the writing found between the covers of Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry by Ra Avis. Inspiring. Hopeful. Healing. Accepting. Brilliant. These are also words that describe the writing of the amazing Ra Avis who came out of her prison experience a changed woman. I can not even begin to imagine the life of an inmate and Ra has opened my eyes once again to what life on the other side of the bars can be like. It is not easy to read the references to abuse and emotional distress that many inmates have to endure. Ra's voice in the darkness rings out loud and clear and challenges each reader to take a step back and really think about what we are doing as a country to our prisoners. Sack Nasty opened my eyes. It also opened my heart. Through all of the sadness and the words that the author writes that encompass her 438 days of incarceration I found a thread of hope and positivity because that is who she is. Ra shares experiences of times spent with other inmates where she was able to offer support and love --things that are rarely found behind prison bars. In her writings I find hope and inspiration that one person --just one person--can make a difference in one small way in any situation that they find themselves in. Did Ra Avis make a difference. An emphatic YES! Is she continuing to make a difference upon her release? Another emphatic YES! Ra's genius writing has inspired me for years and her book Sack Nasty touched me in ways that are hard to put into words. I always tout that good comes out of bad and if one life is touched by reading Ra's amazing book then maybe that is the good that I need to look for. To say that this was an easy book to read would be a huge lie. It hurt to read many of the selections but read them I did because growth comes from doing the things that are the hardest. If you want to read a book that will touch your soul this is the one. Don't wait to read it. Pick it up and be prepared to be amazed at the stories that are shared and the emotions that you experience after each selection. But don't let it stop when you finish the book. Go out and make a difference somehow. Because that is what dinosaurs do. They love and make a difference.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Renee Robbins

    You can tell a lot about how I feel about a book by watching me read - and when I read poetry, "How to Eat a Poem" always comes to mind. I chew poetry slowly, sometimes over the sink, because I am frequently messy. "Sack Nasty" found me partway through, having just read "5150," standing at the kitchen sink with the book hanging from my left hand, marked by my index finger, absently sorting dishes with my right while I pondered. And then sitting halfway up the stairs after "Misunderstanding." Per You can tell a lot about how I feel about a book by watching me read - and when I read poetry, "How to Eat a Poem" always comes to mind. I chew poetry slowly, sometimes over the sink, because I am frequently messy. "Sack Nasty" found me partway through, having just read "5150," standing at the kitchen sink with the book hanging from my left hand, marked by my index finger, absently sorting dishes with my right while I pondered. And then sitting halfway up the stairs after "Misunderstanding." Perched on the wall of my patio during "She Don't Even Know," sprawled across unfolded laundry for "Doing Time." Ra Avis paints a vivid account of her experience of 438 days spent in Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. Each work forms a snapshot or a clip in your imagination, each of them presenting a tiny piece for your consideration. It is a reminder, managing to be both lyrical and harsh at times, that those are human beings behind those bars and walls. We like to believe that people are always in prison because they deserve to be, and that everything that happens there is a preventable shame that should have been a deterrent, because it makes us feel safe and allows us to forget. "Sack Nasty" - which references both the prison-issued sack lunch and...maybe...what we believe about the justice system as a society, and how we should be wary of both.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Ellis

    I went through many different emotions reading this book. It is harrowing and uplifting, shocking yet beautiful in its descriptions of events that were full of prose flowing and cascading like breathtaking waterfalls. Once I started reading, I was hooked and I took the time to experience it as deeply as I could. The triumph of human spirit is evident, as it bobs and weaves its way throughout all of the intricately woven pieces, leading to its melancholic conclusion. No matter how dark the situat I went through many different emotions reading this book. It is harrowing and uplifting, shocking yet beautiful in its descriptions of events that were full of prose flowing and cascading like breathtaking waterfalls. Once I started reading, I was hooked and I took the time to experience it as deeply as I could. The triumph of human spirit is evident, as it bobs and weaves its way throughout all of the intricately woven pieces, leading to its melancholic conclusion. No matter how dark the situations, the author cannot be anyone but herself. Her unique take on life is chronicled here, serving as a beacon of inspiration, hope and grim determination on her journey through and finally out of the system. It also highlights the plights that other women have encountered when serving time in prison in a poignant and insightful way. You may cry when reading this but it will help you to feel and to grow too as a person, opening your eyes and mind to a side of life that will be unfamiliar yet totally relatable, thanks to the deft prose of the author that still retains its bite, even in light of her gentle way of explaining things. Highly recommended and an author to keep a close eye on for the future.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    I enjoyed it very much, and it reminded me of why I love Rara. I recommend everyone sit down for a few minutes and enjoy this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Stevens

    "They say she is property." starts this compilation of poems. That's not just any run of the mill first line. That's a sentence that demands your attention. That's the kind of beginning that can give a person chills. Those are the kind of words that once they have your attention may not be kind to you. And that's the kind of thought that betrays a glimmer of hope hiding behind it. Which is all exactly what you should expect when reading these stories from the author's time in prison. Attention grab "They say she is property." starts this compilation of poems. That's not just any run of the mill first line. That's a sentence that demands your attention. That's the kind of beginning that can give a person chills. Those are the kind of words that once they have your attention may not be kind to you. And that's the kind of thought that betrays a glimmer of hope hiding behind it. Which is all exactly what you should expect when reading these stories from the author's time in prison. Attention grabbing, powerful poems that wring your heart, make you consider things that you, perhaps, wish not to, and show some of the darkest sides of human nature right along side the light. And that is why, when asked... ...Would I recommend it? The answer is - Yes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    DiAnne

    Awesome account of Ra's stay in prison; the good, bad and ugly. Her courage is no less than amazing having experienced the loss of her husband during this hellacious year in prison. A great read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nanda

  13. 4 out of 5

    Preston Stell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Arden

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angie Beacher

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

  17. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Mclaughlan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ra Avis

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nate

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ryan C

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cami Kaye

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angeline Lee

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dean Kealy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily Streetz

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  30. 5 out of 5

    K

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jantine

  32. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

  33. 5 out of 5

    Corina

  34. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia K

  35. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jones

  36. 4 out of 5

    Matt Blashill

  37. 5 out of 5

    Janey Perone

  38. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

  39. 5 out of 5

    Holley Perry

  40. 4 out of 5

    Diamond Mike

  41. 4 out of 5

    Monica Palmer

  42. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  43. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Obrien

  44. 4 out of 5

    Wen Budro

  45. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  46. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Atkinson

  47. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

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