For Every One by Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynold’s For Every One is not a book of poetry or a novel in verse, like the thrilling page-turner, Long Way Down. For Every One is one poem in four parts addressed to dreamers, those who dream of doing something big or life changing or even something small that they haven’t tried before. The poem is about being brave and taking steps to become better than you were yesterday and not giving up if you didn’t make it as a millionaire by age twenty-five. The poem is about what “making it” even means and what’s on the other side of “making it,” how he—Jason Reynolds—has yet to “make it.” I know, right?
Reynolds writes, “I don’t know nothing about that. / I haven’t gone through it all / and come out on the other side.”
Easily read in one sitting, For Every One sounds like a graduation speech of truth. You may not reach all of your goals, for they may be loftier than you first thought, but “jump anyway.” This poem is a motivator, nothing you haven’t heard before if you graduated college or high school—hell, probably even middle school.
However, Reynolds’ free verse is as disembodied and free-flowing as he urges you to be. His experimentation with lyricism and form pop up every now and then, which made me Ooo and Ahh, but those moments were rare and I had to remember this poem isn’t supposed to be as tormenting and gripping as Long Way Down. His play on words and their meanings give it that graduation speech vibe, and he even calls the poem a “ramble” at the very end.
Now, whether or not this is a meaningful ramble rests on the shoulders of the reader. If you’re going through a big life change or you need a push to take the leap, then maybe you need to read this. Or have someone read it to you. Or have Jason Reynolds read it to you himself because I’d feel pretty damn motivated after that.
Find For Every One here.