A group of high school students have found creative inspiration in the unlikeliest of ways. An English class at Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids spent some time reading and discussing poetry written by men and women in prison.

After engaging with the poems, the students created their own works inspired by what they had read. Some students created art, others created videos and others wrote their own poetry.

“This unit of poetry helped me see the emotions that prisoners feel and how it is portrayed in poetry,” said Lydia, a student in the class. “It helped me see what their story was and also helped me to relate to them as brothers and sisters in Christ.”

For some students, learning about the prison system through the perspective of the incarcerated was eye-opening.

“The prisoner poetry unit really helped me see the bigger picture. It made me really think about other people. I never really thought about prisoners, but now it affects the way I think and pray. I think about how they must struggle with their faith and the very unique trials in their life,” said Kelly, a student in the class.

The incredible talent of the poets behind bars also surprised many of the students.

“The prisoner poetry made me realize how people in prison can change, and they are capable of making some amazing art,” said a student named Taylor. “They use their talents that God has given them to make poetry that many can benefit from.”