For nine years Arndt Peltner had been corresponding with and visiting an inmate on California's Death Row in San Quentin State Prison. Over the years, he had met other inmates there as well. Some of them write to deal with their situations or pasts or to be creative in an environment filled with death and destruction. All of the interviews with inmates were conducted over the phone because the State of California will not permit one-on-one interviews. The signal you will hear during the phone calls is a disruption that is purposely put on the line by prison officials to interrupt the calls for the media as well as to alert callers to the fact that they are talking to an inmate and that the call is monitored and recorded. The feature is built around a 1927 article by the German writer Kurt Tucholsky, a critical voice of his time — an anti-fascist, a pacifist, and a strong believer in Democracy. This feature gives them a voice. Poetry on Death Row: Voices from Within, a sound collage produced by Arndt Peltner, airs in the first half of today's show.
In the second half hour, it's Women in Poetry, with the voices of four of the great women poets: Grace Cavalieri, Anne Sexton, Marianne Moore, and Maya Angelou. It's an episode of Sprouts, a weekly program that features local radio production and stories from many radio stations and local media groups around the world. This episode comes from the vault of the Pacifica Radio Archives, narrated by Brian Deshazor, Director of the Pacifica Radio Archives. Women in Poetry has been written and produced for Sprouts by Brian DeShazor and Mark Torres, with executive production by Brian DeShazor and the Pacifica Radio Archives. Sprouts is produced in collaboration with community radio stations and independent producers across the country. The program is coordinated and distributed by Pacifica Radio and offered free of charge to all radio stations. For information, or if you would like to feature your work on Sprouts, contact Ursula Ruedenberg at [email protected] . Enjoy the poetry from death row and from great women poets, on the Radio Chronicles on KPFA 94.1FM and online at www.kpfa.org . Hosted and produced by Safi wa Nairobi.