Sunday, March 7, 2010

Louder Than A Bomb!

This is our second year going to the finals of the Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam. The slam started with about 650 youth poets that get widdled down to about 20 for the finals. The students stretch from the Chicago Public Schools to the Chicago suburbs. The finals are in an old theater here in Chicago, The Vic and are certainly inspiring.

It is truly amazing to see such creative and talented students have the courage to stand up in front of at least 1000 spectators and poor their hearts out. Even as an educator, it is sometimes hard to recognize teenage voices. And here they are channeled into such a positive endeavor. The themes generally cluster around identity, love, breakups, and relationships with parents. All topics we can all relate to from our adolescence. They then sprinkle in politics, poverty, and Chicago Public School violence and inequality.

It is especially special to go to a Poetry Slam here in Chicago. The Slam was developed here by a gentleman Marc Smith at The Green Mill (yes, where Capone hung out). He came up with the ideas as a trick to get more people listening to poetry. The idea is poets perform a poem in 3 minutes or less and then they are judged on a scale from 1-10. At The Green Mill the prize is usually $5. But as they say "the point is not the points, it's the POETRY" If you don't like the poem as it is being read you can snap it off the stage and if you think the scores are too low then you can scream, "listen to the poem".

There are two best things about Louder Than a Bomb:

1. It gives you a chance to listen to the powerful youth voices of Chicago
2. You never know what the next peom will bring, humor, tears or both.

Here is the the 2008 festival where Brian and I were first listened.


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