When a group of poetry organizations met in 2015 to talk about collaborating around a shared theme — migration — they didn’t know how timely their effort would be. But “Because We Come From Everything: Poetry & Migration,” a project that launched this month with 25 poetry organization in 15 cities, has since resonated in ways the groups didn’t anticipate, with hundreds writing in and tens of thousands reading the poems online.
“I think people naturally come to poetry in times of crisis and confusion,” said Jen Benka, head of the American Academy of Poets, which organized the effort. “But for this project we took the poetry to them.”
Among the more interesting efforts came from the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University in Ohio. Through a program it calls “Traveling Stanzas,” the center has disseminated the poetry of local refugee and immigrant children and adults by putting up posters on public transportation, and also posting videos of those poems online.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit Kundiman, which promotes Asian-American poets, encouraged people to send physical and online postcards around the theme of migration.
Below, read some of those postcards and watch refugees, immigrants and those otherwise touched by migration read their poems.