Will McInerney

HOST AND PRODUCER, "STORIES WITH A HEARTBEAT"

Will McInerney is an award-winning spoken word poet, storyteller, educator, and journalist specializing in the intersection of conflict resolution and creative expression. Will hosts and produces Stories with a Heartbeat, a new podcast that explores the complexity of the human condition in conflict through poetry, stories, and conversation. In addition, Will helps with education reporting and produces the My Teacher Project.

Will's work has been featured in media outlets, at universities, and on stages across the US and around the world, including parts of Central America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. In recognition of his work utilizing poetry to confront Islamophobia, Will was recently selected as one of the top six emerging storytellers in America by the International Storytelling Center.

Will has worked as a freelance reporter and producer for North Carolina Public Radio for the past five years and has reported from Egypt, Tunisia, the Palestinian West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, and domestically in the US. Will is a US State Department Program Fellow, a Beacon of Light Award-winner, a Southern Poetry Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam Finalist, and a National Duo Slam Champion.

Will drinks too much coffee and is always looking for more frequent flyer miles.

Ways to Connect

Rohan Ayinde

North Carolina is one of only two states in the US where 16 and 17 years old kids are routinely charged as adults for even the most minor offenses. This policy has serious consequences for the youth involved. In this bonus podcast episode, poet Kane Smego shares a gripping poem called, “Oh Carolina”  about justice and conflict in North Carolina. 

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Amin Drew Law is a Palestinian-American poet and educator based in Washington D.C. In his poem, "The Secret Weapon of Chubby Boys," Amin taps into a classic schoolyard conflict and provides a hilarious and heartwarming solution. 

On this bonus episode of Stories with a Heartbeat, we reflect on some of the classroom conflicts we covered in season 1 of the podcast. From the first days of elementary to college graduation, we explored the spectrum of friction at school. This week we hear from poet Amin Drew Law with a new, potent, and poetic reminder of school conflict. 

Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian poet and human rights activist living in London. Her poem, “We Teach Life, Sir,” is powerful and poignant reminder of the human condition in conflict. 

On this bonus episode of Stories with a Heartbeat, host Will McInerney reflects on some of the stories from our past episodes covering the Chapel Hill Shooting in season 1. Rafeef's beautiful and moving poetry is emblematic of the legacy and the lasting message of life that Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha, and Razan Abu Salha left behind. Listen to Rafeef's poem with the link below. 

Graduation speeches tend to be predictable and repetitive. They rarely leave a lasting impression. But a couple months ago, Harvard Graduate School of Education student Donovan Livingston's voice echoed around the world as his poetic commencement speech went viral.

Picture of poet Dasan Ahanu and podcast logo.
Will McInerney / WUNC

As athletes from around the world compete for gold in Rio this summer, poets from across the U.S. are facing off in a different kind of competition. It is called a poetry slam. On this episode of Stories with a Heartbeat, we talk to poetry slam champion Dasan Ahanu to figure out what this poetic conflict is all about, and how to win.

Colette Heiser

CJ Suitt is a young black poet living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And he has a simple and frightening question, "Would I be shot if I called the police?"

CJ uses his poetry to combat stereotypes and to build bridges of understanding. But he admits, in the wake of yet another series of high profile killings of black men by the police, something has changed. CJ no longer feels safe walking at night.

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WUNC / WUNC

In a month filled with tragedy, how do we make sense of it all? This week on the podcast, we use a poetic lens to try and find meaning within conflict.

School is full of conflict. This week we explore three conflicts in the classroom. Students and teachers use poetry and stories to reflect on moments of friction at school and help us understand why they matter. 

Stories with a Heartbeat is a new podcast from WUNC hosted by poet Will McIneney that uses poetry and storytelling to explore the complexity of conflict. 

Photo: Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha
Our Three Winners

On February 10th, 2015, Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha were shot and killed execution-style in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Their neighbor, Craig Hicks, was quickly arrested and charged with the crime. But what happened that night? Why? And what does it mean for us now?

Seven poets from across the US share new works written and posted to Facebook within one day of the recent mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. These poems are raw, personal, and earnest. 

In the wake of such horrific violence, host Will McInerney passes the mic to seven writers to help us understand what happened at the Pulse nightclub on June 12th. When the country is collectively at a loss for words, sometimes poets can help us find them. Subscribe to this Podcast  

My Teacher: The Last Day of School

Jun 10, 2016
Picture of student Jackson and teacher Myles in a math classroom.
Will McInerney / WUNC

WUNC's My Teacher Series is exploring student-teacher relationships across North Carolina and trying to find out what it takes to make a connect in the classroom.

My Teacher: Tweeting AP US History

Jun 9, 2016
Picture of student Lena and teacher Drew in front of a classroom door.
Will McInerney / WUNC

WUNC's My Teacher Series is exploring student-teacher relationships across North Carolina and trying to find out what it takes to make a connect in the classroom.

My Teacher: Using Stories to Connect

Jun 7, 2016
Student Patrick and teacher William stand in a biology class.
Will McInerney / WUNC

WUNC's My Teacher Series is exploring student-teacher relationships across North Carolina and trying to find out what it takes to make a connect in the classroom.

Picture of student Ira and teacher Ms. Breeze in front of a brick wall.
Will McInerney / WUNC

WUNC's My Teacher Series is exploring student-teacher relationships across North Carolina and trying to find out what it takes to make a connect in the classroom.

 

Today we meet Durham School of the Arts sophomore Ira Ilagan and her biology teacher Kelley Breeze. Ira wanted to talk with Ms. Breeze about a frightening moment that happened earlier this year. 

 

 

 

Student Ray Starn and teacher Mira Rahili stand in a classroom.
Will McInerney / WUNC

WUNC’s My Teacher Series is exploring student-teacher relationships across North Carolina and trying to find out what it takes to make a connection in the classroom.

In Durham, North Carolina, Riverside High School junior Ray Starn sat down and interviewed his creative writing teacher Mira Rahili. Ms. Rahili taught Ray first period, freshman year. It was the opening scene to his high school career. And the personal stories Ms. Rahili shared with that class helped Ray connect, have fun, and succeed at Riverside.  

My Teacher Logo
Keith Weston / WUNC

The My Teacher Series is an initiative from WUNC that seeks to highlight high school student-teacher relationships across North Carolina.

We're traveling the state and helping students interview teachers who have made a lasting impact in their lives. We want to hear the stories that student and teachers think are important, and we want to find out what it takes to make a connection in the classroom. You don't have to wait for us to show up to record and submit your story, though.

George Yamazawa uses spoken word poetry to address personal conflicts and inner struggles. Yamazawa is a National Poetry Slam Champion and his writing is deeply tied to his Japanese-American heritage.

Poet Mohammad Moussa believes his friend Deah Barakat was murdered in a hate crime; and he refuses to remain silent. Shattered Glass, Mohammad’s multi-media spoken word poetry show is a year of reflection and mourning wrapped in the power of storytelling and signed with a poet’s pen. It’s a demand for answers and accountability, and it’s a journey that leaves us both broken and whole.

Was the Chapel Hill Shooting a parking dispute or a hate crime? In this episode of Stories with a Heartbeat we talk about apologies and personal connections with two people at the heart of this question, reporter Reema Khrais and Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue.

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WUNC / WUNC

Stories with a Heartbeat is a new WUNC podcast about the human condition in conflict. Host Will McInerney is an award-winning poet who travels the globe exploring conflict and what it says about us as people. Stories with a Heartbeat taps into the power of poetry, stories, music, and conversation to help us decipher conflict and find meaning.  

In episode three, we follow Farris Barakat to Reyhanli, Turkey where he is working to complete his brother's mission and help Syrian refugee kids smile. 

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  Stories with a Heartbeat is a new podcast hosted by poet Will McInerney that explores the human condition in conflict through poetry, listening, and conversation.

In episode two, host Will McInerney talks with reporter Reema Khrais about her personal connections to the Chapel Hill Shootings, and Will travels to the Syrian border to visit a dental clinic named in honor of Deah, Yusor, and Razan. 

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In episode one, host Will McInerney talks with Farris Barakat about the night his brother Deah was killed along with Deah's wife Yusor Abu-Salha and sister-in-law Razan Abu-Salha. All three Muslim-Americans were shot execution style in their home. 

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