Words Unlocked


Words Unlocked is a month-long initiative that includes a seven-day structured poetry curriculum. Our practitioner-ready curricular materials, which include lessons à la carte, culminate with a nationwide competition and publishing venues for poetic works.

“Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.”

– Audre Lorde


This year's theme is transcendence. Transcendence is the existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level, beyond our circumstance. The power of the human spirit to transcend and be oneself in the face of things happening around and even to us is nothing short of magical. Through Words Unlocked we hope to encourage young people held in locked facilities to voice their truths about the ways their circumstances contribute to yet do not solely define who they are.


Far too many young people are locked up around the country. Through this initiative, we continue to ensure that their words are not.