Ann Bracken
Photo credit: Brian Potts

Ann Bracken is an activist with a pen. She has started over more times than she can count and believes that she possesses a strong gene for reinvention driving her desire for change. Anns changed her job and her mind, but never wavers from her commitment to family, friends, writing, and social justice.

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. She serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review, and co-facilitates the Wilde Readings Poetry Series in Columbia, Maryland.  She 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. Ann’s poetry has garnered two Pushcart Prize nominations, her work has been featured on Best American Poetry, and she’s been a guest on Grace Cavalieri’s The Poet and The Poem radio show. Her advocacy work promotes using the arts to foster paradigm change in the areas of emotional wellness, education, and prison abolition.

The day my first books arrived

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 classrooms and workshops, 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 poetry and creative programs for individuals and groups of all ages 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, 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 anniebluepoet@gmail.com.


  • 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.
  • Write for Your Life Journaling Program: Would you like to build a daily practice of journaling? This multi-session workshop offers exercises in expressive writing, journaling, art, and movement to stimulate new ways of looking at your challenges and goals .
  • 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.

Download a discussion guide for The Altar of Innocence

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