The Charles Schmid case has inspired Musicians, Movie Makers and Authors over the years.


A 1998 limited edition 45rpm single titled “Smitty” by T. Tex Edwards & Out On Parole

In 1970 Charles Schmid was sitting on death row at the Arizona State Prison in Florence. He’d been writing poetry while in prison, and he wrote to a professor at the University of Arizona, Richard Shelton and asked him to critique his work. Shelton accepted. primarily “for all the wrong reasons…I was fascinated because he was a monster.”

Shelton’s meeting with Schmid led him to discover a life-changing project, when, four years into their relationship, the inmate convinced him to start a poetry workshop for prisoners. It’s a workshop that Shelton continued to teach until his death in 2022.

A gift from Shelton’s estate helped launch a fund to continue the work he started in these programs. You can make a donation to the Poetry Center’s work with incarcerated communities by visiting the UofA Foundation website here

“An Andalusian Dog” (Un Chien Andelou) is a 1929 surrealist silent short film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Salvador Dali and Buñuel. The famous opening scene features an eyeball being sliced open with a straight razor.

In 1975 The film was shown to a class in the State Prizon where Charles Schmidt was incarcerated, and shortly after the screening Smitty was brutally knifed by two inmates known to have attended the film screening. Schmid died from his wounds a few days later.