That Bird Has My Wings
By Jarvis Jay Masters, 2010

That Bird Has My Wings is the astounding memoir of death row inmate Jarvis Masters and a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit and the talent of a fine writer.

Offering scenes from his life that are at times poignant, revelatory, frightening, soul-stirring, painful, funny, and uplifting, That Bird Has My Wings tells the story of the author’s childhood with parents addicted to heroin, an abusive foster family, a life of crime and imprisonment, and the eventual embracing of Buddhism.


Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row
By Jarvis Jay Masters, 1997

Finding Freedom is a collection of prison stories — sometimes shocking, sometimes sad, often funny, always immediate — told against a background of extreme violence and aggression. Masters' commitment to nonviolence leads him more and more into the role of peacemaker as he tries to put compassion into action. We see Masters meditating amid chaos and squalor, touching the hearts and minds of those around him.


articles by jarvis

“A Buddhist On Death Row”, The Sun, Feb. 1998, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, p. 7 - 15

“Angry Faces”, Tricycle, Summer 1998, New Jersey, p. 60

“America's Lost Children”, Body Memories, Spring 1995, p. 20 - 21

“America's Lost Children”, Out of Bounds Magazine, Summer 1994, Victoria, BC p. 15 -17

“America's Lost Children”, Resource: A Redwood Men's Center Publication, Summer 1994, Santa Rosa, CA, p. 1,4,13

“Beyond the Gates”, Turning Wheel, Summer 2005, Berkeley, CA, p.34-37

“Bryan's Story”, Out of Bounds Magazine, Summer 1995, Victoria BC p. 23 -26

“Dead Man Living”, Turning Wheel, Winter 1999, Berkeley, CA, p.21

“Dead Man’s Coat”, Turning Wheel, Spring 2001, Berkeley, CA, p.13

“Dream”, The Gathering: Death Row Voices Both Sides of the Wire, April 1994, New York, NY, p.3

“Drunken Boat”, Online Journal of the Arts, Fall/Winter 2001-2002

“Finding Freedom”, Access Regional Holistic Resource, December 1997, Ashland, Oregon, p.12

“Finding Freedom: Writings From Death Row”, Mountain Record: The Zen Practitioner's Journal, Fall 1998, Mt. Tremper, NY, p. 31 - 35

“Finding Freedom, Writings from Death Row”, Southern Crossings, Jan-Feb 1998, Avalon, Austrailia, p 33 - 37

“Fruitcakes”, Turning Wheel, Spring 1994, Berkeley, CA, p.17 - 19

“Grieving for My Teacher”, Turning Wheel, Fall 2003, Berkeley, CA, p.17 - 19

“I Dreamed I Heard my Mother’s Voice”, Shambhala Sun, November 2007, Boulder, CO, pp. 62-63.

”It is a Matter of Innocence, not Economics”, San Francisco BayView website, October 1, 2012, San Francisco, CA

“Joe Bob Listens”, Turning Wheel, Fall 1995, Berkeley, CA, p. 33 -34

“Letter to Richard Korn”, North Coast Xpress, April/May 1995, Occidental CA, p. 41 -42

“Mourning Exercise”, San Francisco Chronicle, April 14, 1996, San Francisco, CA

“My Mother’s Hands”, Atencion, May 5-12, 2006, San Miquel de Allende, Mexico, p.16-23

“Peace Activist”, Gateway Journal:The Magazine of the Engaged Zen Foundation, Spring 1998, Rahway, New Jersey, p. 1 - 3

“Pipe-Down Dharma”, Mindfulness Bell, May-August 1997, Berkeley, CA, p. 8 – 9

“Pitbull”, Turning Wheel, Spring 2006, Berkeley, CA, p. 31-34

“Recipe for Prison Pruno”, Prison Writing, A Journal of Prisoner's Writing and Writing About Prisoners, No. 4, 1994, Sheffield, England, p. 41

“Sanctuary, Finding a Home in Prison”, Turning Wheel, Fall 1996, Berkeley, CA p. 29

“Seeking Silence”, Turning Wheel, Winter 1994, Berkeley, CA p.27

“Staying Steadfast”, Turning Wheel, Winter 2000, Berkeley, CA, p. 30 - 31

“The Boneyard Visit”, Turning Wheel, Spring 1996, Berkeley, CA p. 30 -31

“The Empowerment Ceremony”, Turning Wheel, Winter 1992, Berkeley, CA, p. 25 - 27

“The Lesser of Two Evils”, Turning Wheel, Summer 1997, Berkeley, CA, pp. 41, 42, 44

“The Spring of 1992”, The Gathering: Death Row Voices Both Sides of the Wire, August 1997, New York, NY, p. 6

“Three Excerpts from Finding Freedom”, Paths of Learning, Summer 2002, Eureka, CA, p.22-23

“Tylenol Prayer Beads”, Turning Wheel, Fall 1992, Berkeley, CA p.41

“When Joyce Came to San Quentin”, Utne Reader, Sept.-Oct. 1996, Minneapolis, MN, p.34 – 35


Books that include writings by Jarvis:

Amidon, Elias and Roberts, Elizabeth ed., “Rain Fell Today”, Prayers for a Thousand Years, Harper San Francisco, 1999, p.71

Bennett, Julienne and Luebbermann, Mimi ed., “Sanctuary”, Where the Heart Is: A Celebration of Home, Wildcat Canyon Press, Berkeley, 1995, p. 131 - 135

Boyd, Herb and Allen, Robert L. ed, “Scars”, Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America, One World/Ballantine, 1995, p. 433-438

Chevigny, Bell Gale ed., “Recipe for Prison Pruno”, Doing Time: 25 years of Prison Writing: A PEN American Center Prize Anthology, Arcade, New York, 1999 p.304-305  

Crosby, Nandi S. “Scars”, This Side of My Struggle: Prisoners on Suffering, Surrendering, and Breaking Free, Soul.Journer Press, Chico, 2012, p.17-22

Fields, Rick ed., “The Lone Buddhist Ranger”, The Awakened Warrior: Living with Courage, Compassion and Discipline, Jeremy P.Tarcher/Putnam Books, New York, 1994, p. 194 -197

Hill, Kathleen Thompson ed, “Recipe for Prison Pruno”, Sonoma Poets Collection II, Hilltop Publishing Co., Sonoma, 1995, p.101

Kurs, Katherine ed., “Tylenol Prayer Beads”, Searching For Your Soul, Schocken Books, New York, 1999, p. 334 – 338

Larson, Doran ed. “The Inmate and the Prison Guard”, Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, 2013, p. 123-126

Lozoff, Bo, “Foreward by Jarvis Jay Masters”, Deep and Simple, Human Kindness Foundation, Durham, North Carolina, 1999, p.ix –xi

McLeod, Melvin ed. “That Bird Has My Wings”, The Best Buddhist Writing 2010, Shambhala Publications, Boston, 2010, p. 30-40

Moon, Susan, ed. “Dead Man’s Coat,” Not Turning Away: The Practice of Engaged Buddhism— An Anthology from 25 Years of Turning Wheel, The Journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Shambhala Publications, Boston, 2004 p.67-70

Mulvey-Roberts, Marie ed., Writing for Their Lives: Death Row USA, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 2007, pp. 113-117, p.177-178