When does a firefly soar with light?

In the city of Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York stands a walled institution that has defined the intricacies and livelihood of the City and its residents for centuries. From its inception in 1816, Auburn State Prison was the 2nd NYS prison; established a new system of inmate incarceration called the “Auburn or Congregate System;” was home to commercial silk production with the purchase of cocoons in 1841 and became the principal cash market for silk cocoons and raw silk; holds ownership to being the first facility in the world to use the electric chair for an inmate execution in 1890, and in 2010, Auburn Correctional Facility, a maximum security state prison, serves as manufacturer of NYS license plates. So, what does this backdrop have to with a firefly and light?

Patricia Roth Schwartz (photo provided)

Patricia Roth Schwartz, poet, memoirist, writer of fiction and creative non-fiction, and editor will be the featured speaker at the September 28th session of “word, revisited” starting at 6 PM at the Carriage House Theater, Cayuga Museum of History and Art, 203 Genesee Street in Auburn, NY. Her topic will be “An evening’s journey in poems from West Virginia to Auburn prison to today’s realities.” But, are we still begging the question of a firefly and light?

With the grace of a firefly, enchantment and wonderment of this creature personified, here is part of the answer:

From 2001 to 2015, Patricia Roth Schwartz served as a volunteer inside the Auburn Correctional Facility where she facilitated a weekly poetry workshop with inmates. In 2008, she was named ACF’s Volunteer of the Year, and has edited four published books of inmate work, including the anthology, “Doing Time to Cleanse My Mind.” She is currently writing a memoir about her experiences as a prison volunteer, and is working towards a 2018-19 publication release.  A prolific poet, Pat has published volumes of poetry via books and inclusion in several noted literary journals. She routinely reads her work, presents writing workshops in diverse venues, and her volume,The Crows of Copper John: a History of Auburn Prison in Poems, initially issued in 2013 by Olive Trees, was re-issued in 2017 by FootHills. Her chapbook, "Know Better: poems of resistance" was issued by locofo (2017,) and recently re-issued in expanded format by Clare Songbirds. She lives with her partner, Sandy Zohari, and their dog Rosie on their thirty-five acre property, Sage-Thyme Haven, in Waterloo in the Finger Lakes. She can be reached www.patriciarothschwartz.com.

She can be seen and greeted in person on September 28. We hope you join her!


word, revisited” is sponsored on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month under the auspices of the Cayuga Museum, Olive Trees, and aaduna.  Sign up for the open mic session starts at 5:30 PM.  Admission is $3/person. Wine, beer, soft drinks, and snacks are available for purchase. All proceeds help to support the work of the museum.

The fall 2017 season of ‘word, revisited” will end on November 9th.

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