Building Communities With Cooperative Competition
Louder Than a Bomb is a teen poetry festival founded in 2001 by Young Chicago Authors. As they put it, the event aims, “to bring teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines, LTAB is a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling, and hip-hop spoken word.” It focuses on cooperation, with teams of students working together to write, revise, and rehearse their performances. Now more than 600 teens from over 60 Chicago schools participate, and the event was recently the subject of an award-winning documentary from Siskel/Jacobs productions.
The Nebraska Writers Collective brought LTAB to Omaha for a 2011-2012 season and 12 Nebraska high schools fielded teams. Making it a primary goal to expand the program, the NWC secured enough funding to bring the program to 23 schools in the 2012-2013 season. In 2013-2014 LTAB expanded to 32 schools in Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa and works in more than 42 schools today. The program has impacted thousands of students and provided a host of paid work opportunities for accomplished area poets, helping Nebraska retain some of its best artistic talent.
Many workshops and events take place throughout the festival, which begins every Fall and culminates in a friendly tournament throughout March and April of the following year. For more information, check our blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. If you want to participate, volunteer, or donate, please contact us.