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In October, students at Cody High School in Detroit were given a special new assignment at their weekly poetry writing workshops with InsideOut Literary Arts Project: Write poetry about the city’s bankruptcy.

For two sessions, 30 students at Cody worked with Sandra Svoboda, a reporter with local public radio station WDET, to get a crash course on Detroit’s Chapter 9 filing and the historic ruling that ended it a year ago. Inspired by 2013 workshops led by the Off/Page Project in Stockton, California – the largest American city to go bankrupt before Detroit – the students used facts and figures from Svoboda’s reporting to write their own take on the lingering effects of Detroit’s financial woes.

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