A Casual Kindness has been created by members of Unbound, the ongoing creative community of Vox Liminis, an arts and community organisation working within criminal justice.
Unbound is a community of people with diverse experience of the criminal justice system – former and serving prisoners, people on community sentences, families affected by imprisonment, artists, academics, and people who work in the criminal justice system – using their creativity and experiences to spark positive change.
The poems in A Casual Kindness were co-written in groups with the help of poet Pádraig Ó Tuama. They are poems filled with pain and delight, with tenderness, with isolation, with stories of complication, self-blame, victims’ echoes, and the complications of coming home under licences, of trying to navigate a different world, of trying to find art.
Foreword by T.S. Eliot prize winner Roger Robinson.
“These words and stories of recognition and solidarity in the face of violence – not least systemic and structural violence – raise radical questions about our ways of thinking and being together in society. ” – Alison Urie, Director, Vox Liminis
Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work as poet, broadcaster and theologian centers around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. He is a member and former leader of Corrymeela. He hosts Poetry Unbound from On Being studios and has written a book of the same title. See more at www.padraigotuama.com.
There is No Such Thing as The System
My first day as a social worker, I hear that
most people don’t feel
like they belong to the system.
Most people in the system are good.
The system sometimes knows it’s the system.
The system sometimes denies
it’s the system.
When the system denies it’s the system
that’s when the system
does its most powerful work.
There are always ways to make
the system work for you
provided the system works for you.
On my first day as a social worker,
I learnt about the system and how the system
isn’t the system for everyone in the system.
The system can change. The system
has already changed. The system
doesn’t change. The system is a story
that doesn’t know its own story.
The system’s story’s fixed.