Broken City Poets Documentary

How can high school teens deal with their lives and their city’s bankruptcy through poetry?

WDET’s Sandra Svoboda meets with Niema Jordan, program manager for the Off/Page Project, and Nichole Christian, director of communications and marketing for the InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit, to discuss the importance of working with teens in struggling cities and helping them share their experiences. The new documentary Broken City Poets can be seen on Youtube here.

  • Stockton’s stories: Jordan says the idea for the poetry workshop in Stockton, California was to go into the community and arm students with statistics and facts about their city’s bankruptcy and let them respond to what was happening around them through poetry.
  • Detroit’s youth: Christian says that for 20 years, the Detroit InsideOut Literary Arts Project has used poetry to give students a way to record and share what their individual worlds look like. She says youth bring common sense to issues that seem complex to older generations and, through journalism and poetry, are able to share their stories of Detroit’s bankruptcy, which often go unheard.
  • Mightier than the sword: For Jordan, the documentary Broken City Poets is a story of resilience and hope which showcases the power of youth voices. She says poetry showed the four high school students featured in the documentary that their experiences and voices were valid and had immense power.

Hear the full conversation by clicking the audio link above.