When Casey Rocheteau moved to Detroit in 2014, she jumped into 826michigan programs without hesitation, answering our students’ questions about her poetry and leading a collaborative writing exercise for a workshop of elementary and middle school students. It is with this same drive she tackles difficult themes of American history and everyday life in the poem “Two Byrds.” In this poem, she juxtaposes the points of view of two drastically different men, taking an imaginative leap similar to those we encourage our students to take in their writing, armed with empathy and curiosity. She asks the reader to consider historical injustices that have shaped our present: they cannot be dismissed as relics of the past. By giving voice to someone whose voice was deliberately silenced, she empowers readers to learn more, to consider a different angle, and to be curious about why history remembers only certain stories.
Hannah Rose Neuhauser is an Americorps VISTA serving at 826michigan as Program Assistant. She holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Centre College. Catherine Calabro is Education Director at 826michigan and holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan. They are poets and friends.