Synopses & Reviews
"A compassionate and imaginative retelling of a harrowing period in American penal history." Andy Douglas, Author of Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of a Community Choir
Remaking Achilles: Slicing into Angola's History explores, through poetry in the voices of those who took part, the String Heel Incident of the 1950s, when 31 inmates crippled themselves by slicing through their Achilles tendons in protest of the horrifying conditions at Angola Prison. The history of The Louisiana State Penitentiary, called Angola, is filled with atrocities, abuses, horror stories. This particular incident was coordinated by the prisoners themselves to bring attention to their treatment, and story of the Heel String Incident spread throughout the U.S., finally calling attention to the horrible conditions and the needs for reform.
Poet Carol Tyx was named the inaugural winner of The Willow Run Poetry Book Award of Hidden River Arts for this stunning work.
Read the praise for Remaking Achilles:
"Remaking Achilles brings alive the vivid realities of Angola's history. I study Angola, ...this collection paints the horrors and injustices of time past in a way that the simple facts never do. Carol Tyx has done a remarkable job of reminding us all of where we came from and why we do not want to return." (Marianne Fisher-Giorlando, retired criminal justice professor and Angola historian)
"These sterling voices pretending to be persona poems are so well researched and authentically rendered that the painful and traumatic memories of Angola will continue to haunt readers long after the last pages are sliced open and left bleeding." (Frank X Walker, author of The Unghosting of Medgar Evers)
"A compassionate and imaginative retelling of a harrowing period in American penal history. With each vivid and lyrical insight, Carol Tyx weaves a compelling poetic tale depicting the effects of institutional racism and cruelty, of unimaginable hardship, but also of the human impulse to resist and seek dignity. In the darkest hours, there are sparks of light." (Andy Douglas, author of Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of a Community Prison Choir)
Like the ghostly inmate who takes his place in the long line of U.S. prison atrocities, Carol Tyx claims her place in a long tradition of poets like Muriel Rukeyser (The Book of the Dead, 1938) and Carolyn Forché (The Angel of History, 1994), incorporating individual impersonations and historical documents into lines that incriminate us all. (Cecile Goding, The Iowa Summer Writing Festival)
As calls for reform of the systems of punishment and incarceration grow, Carol Tyx's work will take its place among those calls, bringing the voices of the victims themselves into the chorus.