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Review: Poet Shane Koyczan debuts new video-poem ‘Troll’ on cyberbullying (Includes interview and first-hand account)

We have long seen how a different kind of troll attacks passers-by sauntering along the information highway. Instead of lurking below bridges, these trolls hide behind anonymous user names on sites such as YouTube or Tumblr, insulting random people and urging suicidal kids to kill themselves. In this new form of bullying, disciplining attackers is made difficult by the Web’s shadows, further encouraging these cowards to barrage their victims with cruelty.

Now a video-poem has been released on YouTube to dissect this sordid process. Shane Koyczan, based in Penticton, B.C., brings his spoken word poem Troll (from his recent album Silence is a Song I Know All the Words To) to the masses with a powerful video to accompany his words.

The poem itself is a portrait of beauty and honesty. A telling line reads: “Every night as the moon read bedtime stories to sunlight, you took darkness as an invite to head out into the world, you curled your hands into wrecking balls, your breath became squalls, you made rocks rumble, you made land shiver, you made boys and girls pray that someone would deliver them from you.”

These trolls “spoke in explosions,” Koyczan writes. “You’ve taught strangers into death and laughed. And as each family graft skin over the wounds you gave them, you hem yourself into the scar. You’ve coaxed the sober back into bars.”

As he often does with his poems, Koyczan brought a skilled animator to illustrate his words. Gareth Gaudin provided the artwork and Amazing Factory Productions took over the animation and editing responsibility, creating some truly jaw-dropping visuals mirroring Koyczan’s poetry. It all comes together so perfectly, it’s hard to find fault in Troll.

“When people talk about bullying, they think it’s this dramatic subject” explains Koyczan in an interview. “You can watch movies about it and they’re always characterized as dramas. But for anyone going through it; they’re being terrorized, they’re scared, they’re afraid; the genre is horror”.

The next time you experience cyber-bullying in any form, send this video to your perpetrator. Koyczan’s words have the power to be transformative, and let’s hope Troll pushes these monsters back under their bridges.

Shane Koyczan will be touring across Canada this month in support of an event headlined by David Suzuki. More info can be found here.

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