Poetry unlocks the door…

To me, there are few things more inspiring that kids using words to tell their stories and help themselves break free — whether from social, mental, or physical boundaries. Even as an adult, writing for me (and many others) is about getting out all the stories and feelings that otherwise feel locked inside because we have a hard time saying the important things out loud. But on paper (or the screen), it feels safer.

Today, on NPR, I heard about a young man who won the Words Unlocked 2014 poetry contest for his poem “Meth.” Words Unlocked is a month-long program designed for kids who are being held in juvenile facilities; it provides their teachers resources to help these kids learn about poetry and ultimately enter the national contest. Here’s a link to the winning poems (these kids are really talented!). It’s a shame that so many of the poems are about addiction and death…

And if you are an educator, wherever and whoever you teach, you might want to use these same resources to help your students learn more about writing poetry. There’s a teacher’s guide, a 7-day unit, and a month-long unit. Give it a try!

A trailer from the amazing-looking documentary, Louder Than a Bomb! Gets me fired up about poetry!

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