I started teaching Language Arts at a school within a Level V lockdown treatment center for teenage girls eight years ago. I had been asked to substitute by someone who knew me only through my spoken word performances. I told her I wanted to visit before committing. I wanted to see if these locked-down girls had red eyes and bit. I sat in the back of the Language Arts classroom one morning while students read list poems -- ten things that get them high besides drugs. An adorable Megan, with a phenomenal head of auburn hair that she tossed about like a mink cape, stood up and read her list. It was loud and enormous with honesty and emotion. It roared around the room like a funnel cloud, sucking me in hard. I took the job and haven't left. Friends ask why I want to publish these poems, to share something so ugly? I say they're documentary, memoir, love notes and celebrations. They're for you to hear. They're for you to see. -- Leanne Grabel, author.
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