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Jimmy Santiago Baca talks about poetry and Words Unlocked on NPR’s All Things Considered

In case you missed it, on Saturday, Michel Martin featured Words Unlocked, our nationwide poetry initiative for students in juvenile justice facilities, on NPR’s All Things Considered. Poet and author Jimmy Santiago Baca, who is the lead reviewing artist for Words Unlocked this year, was interviewed for the piece. He spoke about the importance literacy, of sharing through poetry, and helping young people who are locked up to find their voice:

“Literacy is probably the foremost resource that they need to become successful human beings. To be able to deal with sorrow, joy, loneliness and isolation, the first step is that you have to be able to put your feelings into words — and you have to share those words with people… If you can write this out and give it to society, it's going to allow them to take the blinders off and see what's really going on with you in your life. They're going to begin to understand what's really going on in your heart. So let's give them this gift."

The segment, titled Poetry Behind Bars: The Lines that Save Lives -- Sometimes Literally,  included brief recordings from some of this year’s poets, as well. You can listen to the story and the poems by clicking HERE.

Words Unlocked, held as a part of national poetry month, finished up on Friday, April 29th. We received over 1,000 poems from more than 120 teachers working with students in juvenile justice facilities all across the country. We will be announcing the winners on Friday, May 13th.

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