In Poets in Revolt! young people write for empathy and justice

April 20, 2020

“Let’s write / make things right.” –Paris A., Grade 9, 826LA

Whether it’s the March for Our Lives, the Youth Climate Strike, or Black Lives Matter, young people are at the frontlines of combating injustice and changing the world. Poets in Revolt!, a new publication from 826 National now available for pre-order and digital download, brings together a diversity of student voices from communities across the country as they write to claim a brighter future. 

Amanda Gorman, Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of the United States and 826 National Board Member writes in her foreword to the book “826 authors are courageously and unapologetically filling in the literary gaps of yesterday, and demanding that we explore new topics and voices in this sociocultural moment. They are writing the poems that they want to read, and what’s more, writing poems we all should be reading.”

Throughout Poets in Revolt you’ll find vital voices on themes including body positivity, institutional racism, religious freedom, sexual identity, bicultural identity, climate crisis, gun violence, and education inequality. Here are some highlights from the book over on 826 Digital’s Writing Gallery:

You can find a preview of the book here.

Poets in Revolt! began as a workshop led by Ola Faleti at 826CHI, challenging students to draw meaningful connections between poetry and social justice. The theme echoed topics students have been exploring across the 826 Network in recent years. Whether they’re writing about the complexity of their own identities or confronting societal issues like the climate crisis, gun violence, and education inequality, young writers in 826 programs have been reckoning with the nation’s entrenched systems of inequality and injustice. 

In this spirit, 826 National solicited youth poetry from its nine chapters, educators utilizing 826 Digital, and educators connected through a partnership with the social justice design lab Amplifier. Poets in Revolt! is organized into four thematic sections that emerged from student writing: “Poems of Outrage and Resistance,” “Poems from a World on Fire,” “Poems about Identity, Judgement, and Division,” and “Poems for Unity and Hope.” Final editorial decisions were made by youth leadership councils at 826CHI, 826LA, and 826 Valencia. The book features powerful portraits of participating poets by artist Kate DeCiccio:

          

Cumulatively, Poets in Revolt! is an important document of this moment in youth voice and activism, a manifestation of 826 National’s vision for students to use their powerful voices to combat injustice and write their vision for a better future.

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