Words Unlocked 2016
Words Unlocked Update #7: 2016 Anthology!
The Words Unlocked 2016 Anthology is here!
*WU Update #6: Finalists & Anthology Inclusions!*
Words Unlocked 2016 Anthology: Included Poems!
Also included in this list are the 13 finalist poems (in bold and centered). These poems were read by our final team of reviewers, the Words Unlocked 2016 Reviewing Artists! Our goal is to announce the winning poems on Friday, May 20th.
Praise Your Poets!
*WU16 Update #5: Submission Portal Closes Friday, April 29th!*
Submissions Pour In!
*Please be sure to use the 2016 Words Unlocked Submission Form to enter poems!
Questions about the contest? Click the link below the image for more information.
*WU16 Update #4: Submission Portal Opens Friday, April 15th!*
Meet the Words Unlocked 2016 Reviewing Artists!
Unable to stream video inside your facility? No worries! Feel free to download and save them.
Words Unlocked 2016 Focus Poet and Reviewing Artist
R. Dwayne Betts
Returning Reviewing Artist and Inaugural Focus Poet
Returning Reviewing Artist
Yes I Can
I was told, I will never succeed.
I was told, I will never make it.
I was told, school isn’t for me.
But I always said YES I CAN
I was called UGLY.
I was called STUPID.
I was called RETARDED.
But I always said I STILL CAN
I was treated like a butterfly in harsh winds.
I was treated like a wolf with no pack.
I was treated like a boy with no friends.
But I always said YES I CAN I CAN MAKE IT
But I always said I STILL CAN BE FAMOUS
And till this day YES I CAN
Be an Incredible, Intellectual, Insightful, Inspirational, Intuitive, Person with Intensions to show Integrity
And face problems without letting people get the best of me.
And the reason I used words that begin with I:
Because (I) - (C)an - (A)void - (N)egativity
*WU16 Update #3: How's it going?!*
*WU16 Update #2: Focus Poet, Donté Clark!*
Words Unlocked 2016 Focus Poet and Reviewing Artist, Donté Clark, took some time to drop some knowledge about what poetry means to him and provide encouragement to the hundreds of young people in confinement around the country who will be participating in Words Unlocked. Check out the 2016 Kickoff Video below!
Romeo is Bleeding Documentary
A fatal turf war between neighborhoods haunts the city of Richmond, CA. Donté Clark transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he and the like-minded youth of the city mount an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with the hope of starting a real dialogue about violence in the city. Will Richmond force Donté to compromise his idealistic ambitions? Or will Donté end Richmond’s cycle of trauma?
We are thrilled to announce that teachers participating in Words Unlocked 2016 will have access to the film, Romeo is Bleeding, for the month of April. This documentary stars Words Unlocked 2016 Focus Poet and Reviewing Artist, Donté Clark!
*Click here to request access to the film.
*WU16 Update #1: Poetry resources anyone?*
You will need to preselect poems for your students to refer to on Day 1 of Words Unlocked 2016. Take some time to check out the Poetry Resources page on the website and begin selecting some with your students in mind. Consider their interests, experiences, and ideas. Then, choose poems that speak to those very interests, experiences, and ideas.
Did you find something missing from the Words Unlocked website? Is a link not working? Are you unable to view a video? We are human...and ready to help. Click here or fill out the form at the very bottom of the Teach page to report any website fixes or additions that would enhance your teaching experience.
Words Unlocked is BACK for 2016!
In the spirit of National Poetry Month (April), and in an effort to encourage literary exploration by young people held in locked juvenile facilities, we are proud to announce that we will be running our month-long poetry writing initiative and competition, Words Unlocked, again this year.
We are excited to welcome back our lead reviewing artist for Words Unlocked 2016, poet, novelist, and memoirist Jimmy Santiago Baca. This year's theme is Interconnectedness! Through Words Unlocked, we will encourage students to explore this theme and voice their truths about being mutually connected—to others, to communities, to systems, to the world.
Our Director of Practitioner Support, Christy Sampson-Kelly, a published poet herself, once again leads Words Unlocked. All materials for the initiative are available at our Words Unlocked website, which houses a robust set of tools available for public use: daily lesson plans and teacher-ready classroom materials. Please share the Words Unlocked website with anyone and everyone you know who might help get these materials to teachers working with incarcerated youth. We hope to have thousands of students participating starting on April 1.
Far too many young people are locked up around the country. Through this initiative, we continue to ensure that their words are not.
The Words Unlocked 2015 theme was transformation. Take some time to read what young people held in locked facilities had to say.
words unlocked evolve
glimpses into times of change
Click here to view the Words Unlocked 2015 Anthology!
The Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings
We help alternative schools—in community settings and in locked facilities—implement transformational, student-focused practices, designed to significantly improve the life chances of the students they serve.