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State of Exile: Estado de Exilio

Cover of State of Exile

In 2008 Marilyn published a translation of Uruguayan poet-in-exile Cristina Peri Rossi’s extraordinary collection, State of Exile. The book, published by City Lights, includes two personal/political essays on exile, one by Peri Rossi and one by Marilyn.

Rescue the Word

Marilyn has been awarded three prizes by the PEN Prison Writing Program, including first prize for poetry in 2001 for her chapbook, Rescue the Word.

In prison, Marilyn participated in a series of poetry workshops led, behind prison walls, by June Jordan’s Poetry for the People.

What Marilyn loved most about the poetry workshops inside was being part of a community of poets — the spoken aloud, in-your-faceness of poetry in voices that layered, that shared, that contradicted, that inspired each other. She went on to earn a Master's degree in Poetics from New College of California.

Wild Poppies: poetry through the wire

This CD is a poetry jam in space — created across and despite razor wire, prison bars and censored phone lines. It is a gathering of poets to celebrate the work of sister poet Marilyn Buck. On it, she reads some of her own poets, and she is also joined by such noted poets as devorah major, Amiri Baraka, Dennis Brutus, Sonia Sanchez, David Meltzer, Mitsuye Yamada, Staajabu, Sarah Menefee, Carlos Quiles, and others reading selections of her poems and their own.

In the eyes of the government, Marilyn was an enemy of the state, despised for her role in freeing Black Liberation leader Assata Shakur, hated for her willingness to risk her life and freedom for a world imaginable only to a revolutionary—or a poet. Read more about Wild Poppies, listen to the poems and get the CD!

This collection is proof that revolutionary imagination can’t be stifled, no matter how many prisons or patriot acts we face. A poet calls out, and dozens of voices rush to answer.


"Shawnee Unit - A Control Unit For Women" with Silvia Baraldini, Susan Rosenberg, and Laura Whitehorn on prison isolation units for women prisoners. 1992.

"Legal Issues for Women in Federal Prison" with Laura Whitehorn. 1996.

"On the Burning of African-American Churches". 1996.

"Prisons, Social Control and Political Prisoners". 1999.

"Cruel But Not Unusual: The Punishment of Women in U.S. Prisons, An Interview with Marilyn Buck and Laura Whitehorn" by Susie Day. 2001 (on the Monthly Review web site).

"The Struggle for Status under International Law:
U.S. Political Prisoners and The Political
Offense Exception to Extradition
". 2003.

"Freedom to Breathe". 2004.

"The U.S. Prison State". 2004


In addition to Rescue the Word and Wild Poppies, Marilyn's poems have appeared in numerous journals and collections, including Hauling Up the Morning, Wall Tappings, Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth, and Seeds of Fire. Some are also published online:

"To Women Who Work" 1988

"My Sister" 1988

"To Yanira" 1988

"Remembering a 15 Year Old Palestinian Woman in Prison Chained to the Bed Springs She Had Refused to Stop Singing" 1988

"A Story in Celebration of the Intifada" 1988

"American Gothic" 1988

"Waiting" 1989

"Opening" 1989

"Clandestine Kisses" 1990

"Lost Letter" 1990

"Against Restrictive Space" 1991

"Gone" 1995

"No Frills" 1995

"One White Girl Ponders Strange Behavior" 1995

"I Saw Your Picture Today" 1996

"For Fear of Being Called" 1996

"Woman with Cat and Iris" 1997

"Bones" 1997

"Names" 1997

"Night Showers" 1997

"Air Nike Slam Dunk" 1997

"Dear Liz" 1997

"Yvette, Prison Poet Goes Home" 1997

"Too Soon" 1997

"To the Woman Standing Behind Me in Line Who Asks Me How Long This Black History Month Is Going to Last" 1998

"Rescue the Word" 1998

"Autobiographi" 1999

"Three Women" 1999

"Black August" 2000

"Mapping" 2000

"Not a Life Sentence" 2000

"Incommunicado: Dispatches from a Political Prisoner" 2001

"Construction" 2001

"I have been in many shapes ..." 2002

"Confessions before the Orchestra" 2005

"Sentenced Words" 2005

"Tattoos" and "Undocumented" 2009 (in a new window)

State of Exile
at Citylights Bookstore

To read more about Cristina Peri Rossi, see her webpage at: cristinaperirossi.es

Cover of the poetry book Rescue the Word

Wild Poppies CD cover

Wild Poppies CD release party The CD release party for Wild Poppies