Sponsored by Split This Rock and poetryN.O.W., the Louder Than A Bomb DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival (LTAB) brings together poetry slam teams from DC, Maryland, and Virginia high schools for workshops, shows, ciphers, food and friends, and a team poetry slam tournament. Students in after-school poetry clubs across the region work all year crafting new pieces and hoping to make it onto their school slam team so that they can compete in LTAB. In partnership with Young Chicago Authors, the nonprofit in Chicago running the original and largest Louder Than A Bomb program, we are working with schools to bridge the divides in our communities. More than just a poetry slam, Louder Than A Bomb is about sharing, listening, and connecting with other young people from a different part of town, or country, or cultural heritage. It’s about using our words to build the world we envision, starting with ourselves, our schools, and our slams.
Washington, DC – The nation’s capital is home to both the youth and adult reigning national poetry slam champion teams from 2014. The Beltway Poetry Slam Team won the National Poetry Slam and the DC Youth Slam Team won the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. With the two highest ranking poetry slam teams in the nation working in local after-school programs through nonprofits Split This Rock and poetryN.O.W., the national capital area is about to explode with poetry in the 4th annual Louder Than a Bomb DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival (LTAB) April 18 – May 2, 2015.
A special delegation of South African poets that the DC Youth Slam Team met in 2013 in the City of Tshwane are making their first trip to the United States to teach classes, facilitate workshops, host slams, and perform at LTAB. Their visit to DC is through a Sister Cities International Arts Grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities. LTAB kicks off with “Crossing The Street” on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at the historic Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, 101 N St, NW at noon. The Festival brings together over 25 high school poetry slam teams for two weeks of poetry workshops, open mics, MC competitions, film screenings, discussions, and a slam tournament, culminating with the Grand Slam Finals Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the University of the District of Columbia Theatre of the Arts, 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW featuring award-winning poet Danez Smith.
Over 200 student poets participated in the regional festival and competition last year, with Cesar Chavez Public Charter School winning the 2014 championship. Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Washington, DC won the competition in both 2012 and 2013. Each school club brings a team of 4-6 students to perform their own original individual and group poems in multiple rounds of poetry slam. Registration for local high school teams is open now until April 1, 2015. Teams may register online at this link: http://poetrynowva.com/ltab-dmv-2015-1
The goal of LTAB-DMV is not solely to promote a culture of literacy, critical thought, self-confidence, and powerful public speaking, but also to purposefully bring students together across dividing lines like region, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, and politics, to listen to, learn from, and bond with one another. There is vast inequality in the DC area. These students are speaking up about that, sharing their experiences, and speaking out on many other important issues. They deserve to be heard.
According to one student participant “[LTAB] is an amazing way to bring people from all different backgrounds together to learn and grow as people and as poets. I met and spoke to people I would not have otherwise, and it felt great to be in a space where people understand you when you open up on stage.”
Most Festival events are free. The Preliminary Slams, Semi-Finals, Youth Open Mic, and Finals are ticketed events.
Louder Than A Library
In partnership with DC Public Libraries, we are hosting a series of Louder Than A Library teen poetry workshops leading up to the Festival and the culminating Louder Than A Library Showcase Performance and Open Mic on April 30th. All are free and open to the poetry-loving public.
- April 7th 5 – 7pm @ Bellvue Library 115 Atlantic St, SW
- April 14th 5 – 7pm @ Anacostia Library 1800 Good Hope Rd, SE
The Louder Than a Bomb DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival is a joint venture between poetryN.O.W. and Split This Rock, with generous support from Busboys and Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts and the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities. Part of the global Louder Than a Bomb network, LTAB-DMV is one of many regional LTAB’s across the world working with Young Chicago Authors to bring their successful after-school team poetry slam program to teenagers everywhere.
Email SLAM@SplitThisRock.org for more information.
According to one student participant “[LTAB-DMV] is an amazing way to bring people from all different backgrounds together to learn and grow as people and as poets. I met and spoke to people I would not have otherwise, and it felt great to be in a space where people understand you when you open up on stage.”
The goal of LTAB-DMV is not solely to promote a culture of literacy, critical thought, self-confidence, and powerful public speaking, but also to purposefully bring students together across lines of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, geography, sexuality, socio-economic status, and politics to listen to, learn from, and bond with one another. Spoken word poetry is the bridge these students use to promote tolerance, understanding, and non-violent conflict resolution. They are making changes in their selves and in their communities.
The Louder Than a Bomb-DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival is a joint venture between poetryN.O.W. and Split This Rock, with generous support from Busboys and Poets, George Washington University, and the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities. Part of the global Louder Than a Bomb network, LTAB-DMV is one of many regional LTAB’s across the world working with Young Chicago Authors to bring their successful after-school team poetry slam program to teenagers everywhere. Email SLAM@SplitThisRock.org for more information.
Aiming to bring teens together across racial, neighborhood, and socio-economic lines, LTAB is a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral storytelling, and hip-hop spoken word. These teams of poets work throughout the year with guidance from guest teaching artists and coaches from the DC Youth Slam Team to craft individual and group poems to perform in the slam.
Louder Than a Bomb is a youth poetry slam built from the beginning around teams. The structure of LTAB demands that students work collaboratively with their peers, presenting, critiquing, and rewriting their pieces during weekly after-school meetings. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many students, being a part of such an environment—in the context of school—is life-changing. Being applauded and rewarded for speaking their minds and telling their stories is equally powerful and transformative.
Sponsored and organized by the DC Youth Slam Team, Louder Than a Bomb-DMV is currently seeking co-sponsors, funding partners, and volunteers. The DC Youth Slam Team is a program of Split This Rock, a nonprofit organization devoted to elevating the role of poets in social and civic life, bringing together a national network of poets and activists using their words to speak for justice and peace.