6 Poets Who Speak Out Against Bullying
Bullying is a serious issue that can have long-term emotional and behavioral effects. While bullying is usually associated with school-age children, bullying can also take place in adult settings like workplaces, neighborhoods, and even within families. In the face of such pain, many have sought refuge in poetry and literature, including some poets who’ve been bullied themselves. To put an end to the trauma of bullying, many of these poets have spoken out. To shed some light on their work, we’ve highlighted 6 poets who have taken a stand against bullying.
Author, poet, and mother Ashley Love uses poetry and spoken word to confront bullying. In 2013, she founded Fearless Poets—an organization of people who speak out against the abuse of bullying. Later, she compiled the 2014 collection, Fearless Poets Against Bullying, which gathers poets from around the world to speak out against bullying. The collection brings to light that bullying is not just a children’s issue. Childhood bullying can lead to lasting effects in adulthood, and adults may even be bullied in their communities, workplaces, or homes.
Bestselling poet and performer Aija Mayrock has been speaking out against bullying since the start of her career. After being bullied herself for many years, she began her first book at just 16 years old: The Survival Guide to Bullying. The book offers support, guidance, and direction to readers. Mayrock has spoken to millions across the country on bullying and mental health, even joining the ABC and Disney Channel “Choose Kindness” campaign alongside Hailee Steinfeld and Alessia Cara. Her most recent poetry collection, Dear Girl, was released in August 2020.
UK-based mathematician and poet Harry Baker became the youngest-ever Poetry World Slam Champion in 2012. His first collection of poems The Sunshine Kid soon became the center of several TEDx talks he would perform. His poem “Maybe” is written, as he puts it, “for anyone who’s ever been made to feel small in any way by anyone else.”
Author, speaker, and spoken word poet Jon Jorgenson has captured the attention of over 20 million YouTube viewers through his work. The former broadway actor now performs at conferences across the globe. His spoken word video “Sticks and Stones” tells his deeply personal experiences of being bullied and draws attention to the lasting impact words can have.
Voice actor and poet Jordan (Jordy) Ranft entered the 2015 National Poetry Slam Finals with his poem “Bullies.” The empowering poem gives a chilling and lyrical account of his own experience with bullying and his journey to overcome it, as the speaker loses and reclaims his name in the face of a bully.
While Peter Lerangis is not as much of a poet as he is a children’s and young adult fiction author, his stance against bullying is loud and clear. In 2012, the author appeared alongside blockbuster authors Dean Koontz, Bette Greene, and Patricia MacLachlan in a video against bullying. Lerangis shared his own experience of being bullied and his response to it.