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Prison Poet Is a Special Case

February 21, 1993

It pains me to draw attention to the fact that something was lost in the putting together of John Glionna's article on John Thomas' poetry class at Chino prison ("Freedom by Expression," Jan. 14).

Eddie Garza's poem, "Billy's Addiction," is printed with the article, and a line from his poem "For Jack Abbot: Life Without Parole" is in the body of the article. The clear impression is that Garza is an inmate of Chino's medium or minimum security unit and a member of John Thomas' poetry class.

Eddie Garza is a special case: He has an uncommon talent and a destiny infinitely bleaker than anything mentioned in Glionna's article. He is in a prison hospital with round-the-clock guards. He is desperately ill with colon cancer.

Garza is serving a life sentence without parole. He developed the poems quoted in The Times article, not in a medium or minimum security prison, but in my creative writing class in Maximum Security Unit IV B, California Correctional Institute at Tehachapi.

DAVID SCOTT MILTON

Tehachapi

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