Praise for By Heart
"Like all good books, By Heart disrupts our assumptions, causes us to question our preconceptions, and reminds us of a commonly held humanity that is always the subject of Art, the engine of Love and should be the only authority of Justice."
- LJ Moore, The Examiner
"When two poets write a memoir, it has a vividness, substantiality and eloquence that set it apart. Unlike many contemporary memoirs which focus on a capital P Problem, "By Heart" includes the authors' suffering without trying to market it or glamorize it. Much of "By Heart" is about the way that writers become writers. Although their backgrounds and life circumstances are immensely different, both Judith and Spoon are observant, solitary, attentive to nature and its lack."
- Ruth Gendler, Head Butler
"By Heart is a moving encounter between freedom and prison, art, beauty and desolation, silence and voice ... It is passionate and tender, raw and realistic ... It is a love story but not love between people; it is about love for ourselves and our humanity. This is a book that I would wish for every educator to read."
- The Book Nook
"There's a crooked symmetry in this remarkable book: poetry and teaching rescued Tannenbaum, and prison provided her with the lifeline of a writing community; poetry also awakened Jackson, but for him it was a counterforce to prison's destructive power."
- Bell Gale Chevigny, emerita professor of literature at the College of Purchase, State University of New York, former chair of the PEN Prison Writing Program
"A boy with no one to listen becomes a man in prison for life and discovers his mind can be free. A woman enters prison to teach and becomes his first listener. And so begins a twenty-five year friendship between two gifted writers and poets. The result is By Heart a book that will anger you, give you hope, and break your heart."
- Gloria Steinem
"A remarkable memoir of two powerful personalities brought together through poetry and prison. Through Judith's genuineness a poet awoke and found a way to live a fuller life in spite of confinement, and through Spoon's honesty and talent many people will be compelled to contribute to society, even if society has abandoned them."
- Joseph Lea, Library Media Specialist, York Correctional Institution, Niantic, CT
"In their remarkable memoir, Spoon Jackson and Judith Tannenbaum show us how words change lives, how poetry invites you to free your mind, even in a maximum security prison. By Heart is their profoundly inspirational story, an engaging and enlightening examination of two people thrown together in a dark place and how both journey through darkness and into the light."
- Ken Lamberton, author of Wilderness and Razor Wire: A Naturalist's Observations from Prison and other books
"By Heart is... a fascinating glimpse into a world that is mostly forgotten by those outside of it."
- Booksexy Review