Slam poet slams bullying

Poet Shane Koyczan, who grew up in Penticton, has created an animated video of a poem about bullying that has gone viral on the Internet.

It was a little over a month ago that poet Shane Koyczan put out the word that he was seeking animators for his latest work “To This Day.”

This week, the anti-bullying  video was released and quickly went viral on the Internet.

Koyczan, who grew up in Penticton, states on his  website that he wrote “To This Day,” a spoken word poem, to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.

“Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools  to confront this problem,” he states. “We can give them a starting point, a message that will have a far reaching and lost lasting effect in confronting bullying.”

To get involved people were asked to submit their email address to get a 20 second audio excerpt of the piece.

Animators and motion artists  were then asked to let the poet know  what they had in mind in the form of a mood board  written description or image. Lastly they needed to create the animation.

Koyczan says the resulting piece is the result of a group of individuals coming together and binding their talents in an expression of solidarity and compassion.

“I am humbled by the extraordinary efforts of those who selflessly gave their time and committed themselves to bring this out in such a beautiful way,” he said. “My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life, but  standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways.”

An excerpt from the poem reads: “We weren’t the only kids who grew up this way, to this day kids are being called names, the classics were hey stupid, hey spazz, seems like every school has an arsenal of names getting updated every year,  and if a kid breaks in school and no one around chooses to hear do they make a sound?”

Koyczan presented a variation of his earlier work “We Are More,” at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

He has published two books, “Visiting Hours,” and “Stickboy.”

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