Jason Reynold’s “For Everyone” is a Poem, a Nod, a Nothing to Lose

The beautiful, slim new volume by Jason Reynolds is all things and nothing. He explains in the preface that parts of the piece began when he was a young man and he didn’t know exactly what he was writing, he just knew that he wanted to send a signal to the universe for creatives to keep from quitting. Now, almost ten years later he sends it is published, and it really is for everybody. It doesn’t matter if one’s dream is to publish writing, compose a song, or parent a child, the important thing is to follow through regardless of the challenges.

“You hope

the voice that

delivers the

loudest whispers

of what you envision never silences.

That it never cowers behind fear

and expectations that other people

strap to your life like

a backpack full of bricks

(or books written by

experts).

Beautifully executed, the book has an interspersed hand-writing font and an archaic-looking font aptly named Love Letter Typed Standard. Stacked in poetic-style, some lines flow freely and others punch in a staccato pattern. Readers can’t help but want to flip through the carefully designed pages as the compelling text is inclusive to all readers. Who hasn’t faced a challenge? Who hasn’t second-guessed a dream? Who hasn’t wanted to give up on all of their goals?

Mr. Reynolds doesn’t promise success to those who try, but he does suggest a nobility in the attempt.

“The truth is

our dreams could be

as far away as forever

or as close as lunchtime.

Tomorrow you could

wake up and read

read this letter on a billboard.

Or you could wake up

and have forgotten

who wrote it.”

In a society when people grasp on to things and possessions are valued, it is refreshing that the book begins and end with the encouragement for readers to pass the book on. On the beginning endpapers there are lines for the owner to bequeath the book and record their reading. The lines are repeated three times with the simple text: Pass it on. My prediction is that those who are moved by the words inside will want to do both. They will want to own the words and pass them on.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication date: April 10, 2018
ISBN: 9781481486248
Page count: 112
Publisher: Anthenum

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