Harry Evans

Harry Evans' mugshot. Courtesy of: Archives of Michigan

A poem written by Harry Evans that appeared in The Spectator in 1934. Courtesy of: Archives of Michigan

Jackson native, Harry Evans entered the State Prison of Southern Michigan in 1927. A former truck driver who began his sentence with little education, Evans would go on to become the prison's poet laureate. He enrolled in several classes at the prison and soon began publishing poetry in the prison's weekly newspaper, School News, under the pseudonnym John Blood. His work received high praise from his peers, prison officials, and college professors.

In January of 1934, Evan's poem "When One Year More, Means One Year Less" appeared in The Spectator. The poem reads:

It's 1934 --- So, what?

So, some four thousand men

Have one less year to serve before

They're due to leave this "pen."

We clip the years off, one by one--

And though it's slow, we know

That when a new year dawns we've seen another year go.

And if that's "Tempus Fugit" stuff

Is true--as Latins say---

Then, time and tide are things that man

Nor laws can ever stay.

There has to be an ending to

Each week, or month, or year---

And that's why New Year means so much

To those confined in here.

So, move on 1934---

Please don't forget that you

Are holding back a lot of men

Who wear a number, too!