Sack Nasty by Ra Avis

In this compilation of poetry  and prose centered around author Ra Avis’ time incarcerated, a story is built on the edges and principles of a prison environment, rather than centered on the author’s journey itself.  These true stories from 438 days of incarceration are about the illusion of dignity, the malleability of justice, and the fluidity (and fluids) of the human condition.

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what others are saying

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.”

– Beth Ann Chiles, Blogger and Book Critic

“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.”

– Jessie Stevens, Book Blogger