Every April, in celebration of National Poetry Writing Month, poets around the world challenge their peers to write a poem every day for 30 days. The goal: Give writers motivation to produce consistently and regularly by offering new topics for inspiration.
At the Off/Page Project, a collaboration between The Center for Investigative Reporting and Youth Speaks, we’re remixing this campaign in our own way through a digital initiative that combines daily prompts with sourced materials.
Throughout April, we’re posting new writing topics daily to Instagram and Twitter informed by Youth Speaks’ programs and stories from CIR. It’s the latest effort to promote our brand of sourced storytelling for young people, connecting poetry and art with the tools of investigative journalism.
The prompt on April 9, for instance, focused on the CIR animated short “The Box,” asking young people to respond to the question, “Where does our silence live?” Participants have the option to upload their response as a photo or video to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #30for30BNV.
The “BNV” in the hashtag refers to the Brave New Voices network, a collection of nonprofit organizations that participate annually in the national youth poetry slam festival and competition of the same name. This year’s festival will be in July in Philadelphia. Off/Page aims to break the geographic boundaries between network partners while welcoming new communities to participate through a writing project geared specifically around social media.
Halfway through April, the campaign has garnered several submissions addressing themes related to the high school dropout rate, isolation, economic violence, environmental sustainability and more. Below is a sampling of some of the responses we’ve received so far.
We hope this campaign will allow young people to focus the conversation on their own experiences, opinions and writing. Our aim is to create a mosaic of responses across geographic lines and a safe digital space where young people can be informed by, and respond to, investigative journalism.