Illustration by Bridget Killian

Paper Machete

This section of The Exchange features black-out poems created by current and graduated high school students

  1. The Exchange: To Our Flags
  2. The Exchange: The Negro Speaks of Dryland
  3. The Exchange: blue is darker than Black
  4. The Exchange: Sans Fleur
  5. The Exchange: Blindspot
  6. The Exchange: Her.
  7. The Exchange: Lint
  8. The Exchange: Reality Check
  9. The Exchange: Caution
  10. The Exchange: Rubik’s Cube
  11. The Exchange: The Path
  12. The Exchange: sTREEtS
  13. The Exchange: Butter
  14. The Exchange: The Bright Side
  15. The Exchange: Concrete to Shoreline
  16. This Empty Cage
  17. Paper Machete
  18. The Exchange: Marketplace

The Roots Crew participated in a journalism and poetry workshop led by Chima Ikoro, the Weekly’s Community Organizing Section editor. The workshop explored how reported pieces use facts, interviews and reputable sources in order to tell a story. A well reported story doesn’t showcase the writer’s opinion, but instead gathers evidence toward a specific point or subject. 

The art of papier-mâché uses paper, usually up-cycled newspaper, bound by adhesive and molded into a shape that becomes hard and strong upon drying. Local news rooms like the Weekly can empower the communities we serve by challenging false narratives and amplifying the stories of community members. In a way, we are using the newspaper as a tool to protect and aid our communities. This section is titled Paper Machete because these students have used copies of articles featured in the Weekly to craft their own stories through the creation of black-out poems. Similarly to how reported pieces gather found information to build a narrative, these poems are tools made from words that have already been written—reframed, refined and sharpened to serve a new purpose.

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This Empty Cage

This section of The Exchange features poems from currently or formerly incarcerated writers