Ann Bracken is an activist with a pen. Her three books of poetry take on the topical issues of family secrets like depression and alcohol abuse, the challenges of teaching, and the stories of the men and women hidden away in our nation’s prisons. Ann’s use of poetic language has garnered her two Pushcart nominations, a featured spot on Best American Poetry, and appearances on Grace Cavalieri’s Poet and the Poem radio series. Her latest book, Crash: A Memoir of Overmedication and Recovery, explores mother-daughter experiences of mismanaged care for depression and chronic pain, and tells the multi-generational story using primary source records, journal entries, and current medical research.
Ann Bracken has published three poetry collections, The Altar of Innocence, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom and Once You’re Inside: Poetry Exploring Incarceration and a memoir: Crash: A Memoir of Overmedication and Recovery. She serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review, and co-facilitates the Wilde Readings Poetry Series in Columbia, Maryland. Ann also volunteers as a correspondent for the Justice Arts Coalition, exchanging letters with incarcerated people to foster their use of the arts. Her poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Awakenings Review, Mad in America, Fledgling Rag, and Gargoyle. Her advocacy work promotes using the arts to foster paradigm change in the areas of emotional wellness, education, and prison abolition.
Ann’s interviews for Little Patuxent Reviewinclude such notables as Grace Cavalieri, host of The Poet and the Poem and Poet Laureate of Maryland; Paul Rucker, visual artist and cellist; Jason Reynolds, award-winning Young Adult author; Betty May, prison activist and author; and Morna McDermott, university professor and social justice activist.
Educated at Towson University( BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology) and Johns Hopkins University(M.S.Ed. in Communication and Learning Disorders ), Bracken’s work as a teacher in public and private schools, community colleges, and the University of Maryland College Park during the past forty years has focused on giving women, students of all ages, and imprisoned people a voice. Her post-graduate work in drama in education from Dublin’s Trinity College, journal instruction training from The Center for Journal Therapyand poetry therapy training from The National Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy all weave their way into her presentations, making them creative and memorable learning environments.
Ann has two grown children and lives in Columbia, MD.
Watch Ann read her poetry–Youtube videos
Customized Programs and Book Club Appearances
Ann offers customized memoir and poetry programs for individuals and groups through her practice, The Possibility Project. Ann believes in the power of imagination and hope to create and shape new possibilities for all of us. Her work in creative problem solving and poetry therapy has taught her that with a new vision, new possibilities are always available.
She also offers materials for book clubs who choose to read and discuss her books, Crash: A Memoir of Overmedication and Recovery, Once You’re Inside: Poems Exploring Incarceration, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom and The Altar of Innocence. If you are interested in more information about customizing a program, contact Ann by email at email@example.com.
POSSIBILITY PROJECT PROGRAMS INCLUDE
- BOOK CLUB DISCUSSIONS: Has your book club read Once You’re Inside: Poems Exploring Incarceration, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom or The Altar of Innocence? Ann provides discussion questions and is available for in-person as well as Skype and Zoom discussions with book club members.
- Memoir in Verse Workshops: Ann will share helpful tools and suggestions for using the tools of narrative–dialog, scene, and setting–within the beauty and simplicity of verse.