The 'Friends of Marcia Powell' are autonomous groups and individuals engaging in prisoner outreach, informal advocacy, and organized protest and direct actions in a sustained campaign to: promote prisoner rights and welfare in America; engage the Arizona public in a creative and thoughtful critique of our system of "justice;” deconstruct the prison industrial complex; and dismantle this racist, classist patriarchy...

Retiring "Free Marcia Powell"

As of December 2, 2010 (with occasional exceptions) I'm retiring this blog to direct more of my time and energy into prisoner rights and my other blogs; I just can't do anyone justice when spread so thin. I'll keep the site open so folks can search the archives and use the links, but won't be updating it with new posts. If you're looking for the latest, try Arizona Prison Watch. Most of the pieces posted here were cross-posted to one or both of those sites already.

Thanks for visiting. Peace out - Peg.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Marilyn Buck: State of Exile.

From the Friends of Marilyn Buck, who is fighting cancer in federal prison. She's an extraordinary poet and translator (see State of Exile by Cristina Peri Rossi), and a sharp essayist. The article this links to at the Rag Blog is awesome. Note Marilyn's address change below, and drop her a card of encouragement and blessings. She is supposed to be paroled in August: show them how big and caring her community is.

Hit this page on her friends' site and listen to an interview with her attorney, Professor Jill Soffiyah Elijah, detailing Marilyn's history, prosecution, and experiences as a political prisoner. Professor Elijah has represented many of our freedom fighters and political prisoners over the years...


Political Prisoner, Poet, Writer, Translator, Teacher –

Free Marilyn Buck!

Photo  of Marilyn  2000

political prisoner

Marilyn Buck began her antiracist activism as a teenager in Texas. As a college student, she organized against the war in Vietnam and in solidarity with the Black liberation movement. “After less than a decade as a political activist,” she writes,“I went to prison, convicted of procuring firearms for the Black Liberation Army. I faced 10 years in prison—a very long time for a young woman."

After serving four years, Marilyn was granted a furlough from prison and did not return. She spent the next eight years in clandestinity. Marilyn was recaptured in 1985. In addition to charges related to Assata Shakur’s escape, she was convicted of conspiracy to protest government policies (the invasion of Grenada and military intervention in Central America) through the use of violence against government property. Her total sentence was 80 years.

poet, writer

“The trials, those years of intense repression and US government denunciations of my humanity had beat me up rather badly. Whatever my voice had been, it was left frayed. I could scarcely speak.” Instead, Marilyn wrote. “For prisoners, writing is a life raft to save one from drowning in a prison swamp. I could not write a diary or a journal; I was a political prisoner. Everything I had was subject to investigation, invasion and confiscation. I was a censored person. In defiance, I turned to poetry, an art of speaking sparely, but flagrantly.”

Marilyn’s poems can be found in many collections, in her chapbook, Rescue the Word, and on her CD Wild Poppies. She has been awarded three prizes by the PEN Prison Writing Program, including first prize for poetry in 2001. Some of her poems are online here.

translator, teacher

Marilyn has long translated for Spanish-speaking women held in prison, and she is now translating Spanish literature to English. In 2009 City Lights published her translation of Uruguayan poet-in-exile Cristina Peri Rossi’s extraordinary collection, State of Exile. Read more about her publications.

She has also taught writing, GED preparation, history, and yoga inside.


One of more than 100 political prisoners in the United States, Marilyn is proof that imagination and solidarity can’t be stifled, no matter how many prisons or patriot acts we face.

her address is:

MARILYN BUCK 00482-285
P.O. BOX 27137


Read a recent profile of Marilyn by a long-time activist friend at Austin's Rag Blog.

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