It has been almost a month now given that National Poetry Month wrapped up, but never let the calendar fool you: All Items Deemed nonetheless has some unfinished enterprise with the month that was.
That’s since, just a handful of weeks ago, NPR’s Michel Martin checked in with the Words Unlocked poetry contest. The competition — launched in 2013 by the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings — drew more than 1,000 poem submissions from students in juvenile correctional facilities across the country.
Here’s how the final judge of the contest, poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, broke it down then.
“They have a national system exactly where children submit their work, and they go into literacy applications in the facilities,” Baca mentioned. The students’ work “goes to many judges, and ultimately it gets to me. And I have to pick the winners out of the prime 15 poems.”
Nicely, Baca and organization have now picked these winners for 2016. Following three rounds of testimonials, two poets emerged with a tie for 1st place: C.R., from Utah’s Salt Lake Valley Detention Center, and Kevin, who is at Duval Academy in Florida.
Due to the fact they are minors, NPR could not use their last names, but the poets themselves did us one particular much better — they recorded their winning poems for us.
Below, you can locate these poems in complete, together with audio of the poets winning their operate aloud. And you can study much more of the Words Unlocked finalists right right here.
‘Furious,’ By C.R.
I really feel the heat in my body like I am bathed in sun.
Palms sweaty. Muscle tissues tensed. Tears nicely up.
I won’t let them run.
My face red, the flames of fire, angry thoughts screaming louder than the screeching of a vulture more than a traveler’s carcass.
I look for a way to escape the flames, but I am trapped in a box.
Punching white walls as jagged as rocks, my knuckles bleed.
I want to shout behind the green door that will not let me out.
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie – to me they’re all the same. I really feel a lot more like the quantity on my file than my actual name. When I speak to my father, I leave ashamed. I try to do my best but anger, pressure, sadness are hidden in my chest, heart, soul.
Group homes, proctor care, safe facilities hanging more than my head like a
knife swinging from a rope.
They attempt to dissect me. I guess they’re curious.
I don’t even realize: Why am I so furious?
‘My Reality,’ By Kevin
Visions of joy slowly spiral
into view, mid-slumber
Need usually hits tough
I remember the paleness of her functions,
recognize her desperate pleas
but I’m lost
like the initial probabilities
I will in no way get back
I lie in bed, consumed
by her breathtaking smile
I reach out
as she drifts additional and additional away
I awake from my slumber
hoping to see her
by my side
Reality hits me difficult
like a hurricane in mid-August
strikes me like the uppercut
I wasn’t expecting
fills my body
with a familiar, pulsing discomfort
All I can see
are the white brick walls
The tree branches sag
outside the bars of my window
The scenery brings me back
to a little town in North Dakota,
a spot I found comfort
I think back to hiking up a hill
on a beaten path overgrown with vegetation
I keep in mind my grandpa,
keep in mind our very first tee-off
beneath a sky of velvet,
how proud he was
when I scored my very first par
But I am nonetheless here
on the prime bunk,
a cold, dull slab I call property
I strain to see them
from behind these numbing bars
There is beauty in the struggle
I must bear in mind that