“Locked [In]” a new poem by Gabriel Cortez, “depicts the disturbing reality that many youth face in solitary confinement.”
The poem was commissioned by Off/Page, a collaboration between Reveal (from The Center for Investigative Reporting) and Youth Speaks. It builds on the investigative work of Trey Bundy and Daffodil Altan into solitary confinement of youth on Rikers Island.
Cortez used the article as inspiration, then spent six months researching the subject and writing multiple drafts of the poem.
“The investigation helped bridge that gap. While writing, I constantly came back to it, scrolling up and down the page, rewatching videos, and following hyperlinks to find another line of poetry or point of entry into the piece,” Cortez said in an interview with Off/Page project manager Niema Jordan.
Read the interview here.