Writer's Block

Poetry set author Jean Trounstine almost home free

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Prison was JEAN TROUNSTINE's workplace. Breast cancer was her sentence. But Trounstine fought back and won an appeal. As she writes, "Like many who enter the dark tunnel of cancer, I feared for my life, fought back with treatment and depended on family and friends to help me with hope. My particular nature also took me to the page where I found comfort in writing and a way to express my unique as well as my universal experiences." Trounstine has written about survivors before. Her nonfiction book, Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women's Prison, documents two of the 10 years Trounstine spent teaching and directing inmates at Massachu-setts' Framingham Women's Prison (see Good Behavior, issue of March 8-14, 2001). Having co-founded the women's branch of Changing Lives Through Literature, Trounstine is an advocate of education in the rehabilitation of prisoners. Shakespeare Behind Bars shows the results. Her latest, ALMOST HOME FREE, a collection of poems on the breast cancer experience, continues the theme of literature's importance in our lives. At times it's an unsettling read ("Breast cradled in a bandage,/too soon to see the scar, the ravaged skin,/the underarm bruise"), but it's rewarding for reader and author alike. Trounstine's ability to write became a coping mechanism and, with the publication of Almost Home Free, her small-but-growing collection of works reflects the chapters of her life. Trounstine returns home — she grew up in Cincinnati — on Thursday for a book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at 7 p.m. 513-396-8960. ...

Another poetry release of note, the self-published WORDS FROM A POET by local SEAN B. YISRAEL, screams to be a series of performance pieces. His all-too-accessible writing is driven by underlying beats and rhymes, and, of course, the requisite universal themes of love and loss. Yisrael's at his emotional best discoursing the loss of his brother ("R.I.P. Lil Brother") and the power/danger of alcohol ("The Man in the Bottle"). Here's a writer in progress, meant as a positive stamp on his early promise though not-yet fully tapped potential. Yisrael will sign his collection and give his words the oral presentation they deserve from 6-8 p.m. on June 5 at the College Hill Recreation Center. 513-266-1158.

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