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Poetry Callout: Write A Poem For Ahmaud Arbery

Updated May 18

Thedeath of Ahmaud Arbery — a 25-year-old unarmed black man who was shot and killed in February while out jogging in Glynn County, Ga. — has sparked a national outcry.

There's been heartbreak and outrage since a video, which appeared to capture Arbery's Feb. 23 death surfaced; two white men have been arrested and charged with his murder. People are trying to make sense of what happened, how it happened and why it happened. NPR's resident poet Kwame Alexander and Morning Edition's Rachel Martin suggest trying through poetry.

"Like most human beings, I find myself drowning in anger, anxiety, fear and still more anger," Alexander said. "And as an American, I see the murder of African American boys as a disease that America cannot seem to cure."

Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown also reflected on the news surrounding Arbery's death in his poem, "Bullet Points."

Join in by sharing a poem that helps shine a light on what's been going on in our country, that helps push us towards change and explores what's to come: chaos or community.

Alexander will then create a crowdsourced poem using lines from submissions. He and Martin will read it on air, and NPR will publish it online, where contributors will be credited.

This callout was closed on May 18.

Here are the terms of the callout:

By providing your Submission to us, you agree that you have read, understand and accept the following terms in relation to the content and information (your "Submission") you are providing to National Public Radio ("NPR," "us," or "our"):

You are submitting content pursuant to a call out by Morning Edition related to a segment with Kwame Alexander wherein he creates unique poetry based on listener submissions. You understand that you are submitting content for the purpose of having Kwame use that content to create a new poem or poems ("Poem") with the material you submit. You must be over the age of 18 to submit material.

You will retain copyright in your Submission, but agree that NPR and/or Kwame Alexander may edit, modify, use, excerpt, publish, adapt or otherwise make derivative works from your Submission and use your Submission or derivative works in whole or in part in any media or format and/or use the Submission or Poem for journalistic and/or promotional purposes generally, and may allow others to do so. You understand that the Poem created by Kwame Alexander will be a new creative work and may be distributed through NPR's programs (or other media), and the Poem and programs can be separately subject to copyright protection. Your Submission does not plagiarize or otherwise infringe any third party copyright, moral rights, or any other intellectual property rights or similar rights. You have not copied any part of your Submission from another source. If your Submission is selected for inclusion in the Poem, you will be acknowledged in a list of contributors on NPR's website or otherwise receive appropriate credit, but failure to do so shall not be deemed a breach of your rights.

Your submission will be governed by our general Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. As the Privacy Policy says, we want you to be aware that there may be circumstances in which the exemptions provided under law for journalistic activities or freedom of expression may override privacy rights you might otherwise have.

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Casey Noenickx
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.