Title: For Every One
Author: Jason Reynolds
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.
For Every One is just that: for every one. For every one person. For every one dream. But especially for every one kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish—because just having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith.
A pitch perfect graduation, baby, or love my kid gift.
I just discovered Jason Reynolds a few months ago, and I am so glad I did. He is one of my favourite writers now.
This poetic letter was originally performed at the Kennedy Center. It has a great performative, spoken word quality to it. He repeats lines over and over, such as “I don’t know nothing.” This also puts his voice into the poem, since it sounds like something you would say, rather than write.
I could relate to the beginning of the piece, when he said when he was 18 I thought I would make it at 25, but today he still doesn’t feel like he’s made it. I kept thinking of my own writing experience and how difficult it is to “make it” in the publishing world. But then I realized that it could be applied to any dream. He doesn’t explicitly say that it is about writing. It could be any dream you have, and sometimes you just have to take a chance and try at it, whether you’re going to be successful or not.
I loved this poem. I think I will be revisiting it many times in the coming years. And in my opinion, Jason Reynolds has already made it!