Spoken Word, Current Events, and Perspective


Stanisha Watkins

Senior Advance Comp classes created and performed Spoken Word poetry as the culminating assessment for their All American Boys novel study. The book is told from the points of view of two teens of different races and backgrounds who are caught up in a case of racial profiling and police brutality. The novel was written by co authors,  Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, and is a fictional reflection of real-life police encounters with young black men that have ended badly.

Reynolds and Kiely wrote the novel as a way to prompt kids and adults from all walks of life to consider and discuss social injustice from multiple lenses.

The senior English teachers at Cartersville High School assigned the Spoken Word poetry to do just that. Students were asked to write a poem from the perspective of one of the numerous characters within the book. They could choose from the two main characters or from any of the multitude of minor characters within the story. The assignment encouraged them to see and understand the value of other stories and perspectives outside their own, familiar lens.