It's pretty rare these days for a poem to get a lot of attention online. But this one's grabbed millions of people with its message about bullying and mental health, and a beautifully animated video to go with it.
Poet Shane Koyczan, who was born in Yellowknife and grew up in Penticton, B.C., wrote the spoken-word poem 'To This Day'.
The poem starts out with memories of bullying and name-calling from Shane's childhood, and expands from there to talk about the struggle with bullying, depression and drug addiction that many people face.
It ends with a message about standing up for the underdog, and focusing on beauty rather than pain.
Koyczan appeared on CBC's Metro Morning to talk about the poem and the project. Host Matt Galloway calls it "an incredibly powerful piece that details the daily humiliations endured by a bullied child."
In the interview, Koyczan discusses the relationship between bullies and victims - and says he's been both in his life.
"The one theme that remains the constant is that it happens to people who are different, and oftentimes there are more victims than there are actual bullies," he said. "And I wanted them to see that they're connected through this pain, or through this emptiness, or loneliness, or whatever you want to call it."
You can listen to the full interview right here.
The poem has been around for a while. But the video is new: it was organized by creative studio Giant Ant, who gathered a large team of animators to create the visuals in the piece.
It was released to coincide with Pink Shirt Day, an event held on the last Wednesday of every February (it will happen on the 27th this year) to promote awareness, understanding and openness about the problem of bullying.
The video features animation that varies in style from hand-drawn to stop motion to computer graphics. A full list of the animators runs at the end of the video. The music is by Koyczan's band, 'Short Story Long'.
To find out more about the project, check out the To This Day site, and Shane's personal site.
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