Tajai Recommends Weds Workshop

We are privileged to have our November 5th writing workshop be facilitated by Daren Kamali. He is a prolific international Pacific poet, author, teacher artist, spoken word performer, and youth mentor. His collected poems comprise a trilogy of creations titled Squidluminaries.  Kamali is the Co-Founder of the South Auckland Poets Collective and Co-Director of Pacific company ‘Niu Naviagations’.  His involvement additionally includes being a Guest Pacific Educator at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and he was a former member of the first New Zealand/Pacific poets collective “POLYNATION”.  Kamali’s writings and performances combine Fijian/Pan Pacific styles with a variety of chants, melodies, rhymes, spoken word, rap, and harmonies.  His work is thematically drawn from his Oceania roots and pulls from a fusion of contemporary and traditional aspects of the culture and life derived from this region.  Kamali also mixes his own passion and life experiences into his powerful forms of expression.

Big Deal

Wednesday, November 3rd 2015 Daren-Kamali leads workshop at the Split This Rock office.

Daren Kamali, from my own personal research seems to be a man of values. It is clear from his music and poems that he is a person who cares not only about humankind, but about the earth and protecting where we stay. His poems are beautiful and express compassion and hope for the world we live in today. He’s a Fijian writer, where he focuses most of his original work. He has over 10 years of experience as a creative arts youth mentor and he will be at Spilt This Rock this Wednesday from 6:30-8:30. The man is a slam poet, spoken word artist, does pacific as well as regional style poetry. So to all of the Louder Than a Bomb family this is a great opportunity to get to see what the workshops will be like during the festival. A wonderful chance to meet a teaching artist to understand what should be going on in classes and how you practice and come up with different pieces in other ways than you originally thought.

Video – Chavez Capitol Hill

From LTABDMV2014

Cesar Chavez PCS Capitol Hill Campus


y’all remember this poem?

how could you forget!

Updates from First Teachers Meeting

On Monday, Sept. 8th over 20 teachers, students, and volunteers interested in participating in LTAB-DMV attended our first Teachers Meeting of the season. We’re gearing up for another exciting year of spoken word in DC area schools, and the 2015 Louder Than a Bomb DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival is going to operate a bit differently than in the years past. Here are a few changes and announcements we made at last night’s Teachers Meeting: 

  • LTAB-DMV is now open to all schools in DC, MD, and VA who want to participate. 
  • The 2015 Festival will take place from April 18 – May 2, 2015. 
  • Registration will be open from February 1 – March 6, 2015, and will cost $200 per team. 
  • Teachers and students are in charge of establishing, recruiting, running, and maintaining their poetry clubs. Split This Rock and PoetryN.O.W. will not be sending Teaching Artists to work with school teams every week. 
  • We are currently seeking a new institutional partner to host the festival, as well as more sponsors for the festival and after-school programs. 
  • We want to send Teaching Artists and volunteers to help with the after-school poetry clubs, and will try our best, but not every school will have a coach from Split This Rock or PoetryN.O.W. working with them. 
  • There will be a writing contest as part of the festival this year. The LTAB-DMV 2015 Poetry Writing Contest will be open from Feb. 1st – Mar. 6th, just like team registration. 
  • Now is the time to start organizing and recruiting new members. Set up an open mic and an interest meeting at your school now and let us know so that we can help you spread the word. 
  • PoetryN.O.W. has free lesson plans and guides that they are sharing with our network. Email JosephGreen@poetrynowva.com to get access to this curriculum. 
  • The Academy of American Poets has similar lesson plans available here
  • Bring your poets to our open mic’s and poetry slams and workshops. This is a great way to practice and there are plenty coming up
  • Don’t forget to add your opinions to the 2014 LTAB-DMV Participant Survey (if you indeed participated in last year’s festival). 

There were some questions at the meeting about the poetry slam rules and if there would be any changes to those. We have not made any decisions about slam rules at this point. Further updates and announcements will be coming along each month. For now, we want all of our friends and allies in schools around the area to remain focused on recruiting more students to join their clubs and making the experience the best possible. The goal is to bring poetry out of the margins and into the center, to celebrate the power, passion, and talent of all students, and to create educational, social, and transformative experiences through creative writing and sharing in safe spaces. We need your help to make sure every student at your school feels welcome and encouraged to join the poetry club. We are focusing all our efforts this fall semester on giving teachers, staff, and students the resources and advice they need to run highly successful poetry clubs. 

We will be holding Teachers Meetings monthly to provide training, professional development, and best practices among our network of poets, volunteers, and teachers.

  • Split This Rock will host monthly sessions on the evening of the 1st Monday of each month, from 6:00-8:00pm in DC.
  • PoetryN.O.W. will host monthly sessions on the morning of the 3rd Saturday of each month, from 10:00am-1:00pm in Northern, VA. 


LTABDMV Interest Meeting Monday Sept. 8th

LTABDMV Teachers Interest Meeting



LTABDMV Interest Meeting for Teachers/Coaches/School Staff

Monday, Sept. 8, 2014

6:00 – 8:00pm


Split This Rock

1112 16th St, NW, Suite 600

Washington, DC 20036

Farragut North Metro


Interested in getting your school or students involved with the Louder Than a Bomb DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival? Want to help lead after-school poetry clubs in the DMV area? Want to help organize the LTABDMV Festival? This meeting is for everyone who wants to be involved with LTABDMV in the 2014-2015 school year, especially teachers, administrators, and teaching artists.  Email SLAM@SplitThisRock.org for more information or to sign up.

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LTAB-DMV 2014 Survey for Participants

Did you attend the 2014 Louder Than a Bomb DMV Teen Poetry Slam Festival?
Did you compete on or work with a poetry slam team at a local high school?

If you participated in LTAB-DMV 2014 in any way, please take 5 minutes to fill out this short survey about the experience. Your honest answers and candid comments/suggestions will help us improve the program. Thanks!

Click here or use the form below.

This survey is for students, poets, teachers, administrators, family, and friends of those involved in LTAB-DMV 2014 who attended and/or participated in any workshop, poetry slam, open mic, film screening, or other festival event.

No Better Way to Spend Saturday

LTAB-DMV is an annual teen poetry slam festival involving schools throughout the DMV area. LTAB was founded in Chicago in 2001 to “give youth around the city of Chicago a platform to share their stories.” The festival has since become a ‘bridge’ for young people from many different backgrounds to come together and find a common ground through their narratives. LTAB is the largest youth poetry festival in the world, featuring over 100 zip codes within the Chicagoland area. This year LTAB-DMV was a month-long event that continued through May 2014. As of right now, there are over 30 high school slam teams throughout the DMV area, however only 25 teams participated in the festival. Each team had the opportunity to slam against other teams within the five different preliminaries. The two teams that had the highest overall score at the end of the bout moved onto the next bout and eventually to the semi-finals. This cycle continued throughout the month of May until there were only four schools left: Friendly High, Wilson Senior High School, Madeira School, and this year’s Champions, Cesar Chavez PCS-Capitol Hill.

The CooLots performing at the Block Party

The CooLots performing at the Block Party

On the day of finals, May 31, 2014, there was a free block party that was open to the public. During the block party there was an MC competition as well as musical accompaniment from the CooLots, an all girl rock/soul band. The party was catered by Island Moon Catering, & Pizza, and Busboys and Poets, including delectable food fit for both meat lovers as well as vegetarians. The party quickly drew in a crowd of not only youth poets but college students as well. Personally, I enjoyed the party and I thought it was a great way to start off the day and hype people up for the finals later that evening.

Thomas Hill

Thomas Hill of the DC Youth Slam Team reading a Dr. Maya Angelou poem in memorium

Before the start of finals, LTAB-DMV coach Joseph Green and co-host Reesa Renee explained the rules of the slam and the order of events. Once they finished explaining the rules, Thomas “Vocab” Hill came to the stage to do a tribute poem for Maya Angelou. After Thomas’ performance, Quintin “Zayy” Paschall came to the stage as the sacrificial poet. The sacrificial poet is someone who is not competing in the competition but performs a piece that will be scored by the judges to calibrate their scores. The purpose of this is to warm the judges up and also to give the audience a little piece of what they can expect from the poets. Throughout the competition, poets spoke on a wide range of topics from being addicted to Chipotle, to love poems, to deportation, and gender roles and the expectations of society and still that is only a taste of what these poets had to offer. Being as though I am a 17-year-old living in the DMV area, it was really refreshing to hear my peers speaking eloquently on such raw topics.

Lyrikal Storm performing Chipotle

Lyrikal Storm performing Chipotle Addiction poem

I particularly enjoyed the group piece by Elijah and Antonio from the Friendly team. In their piece, they spoke on what society’s definition of a man was as opposed to the real definition of a man. I also thoroughly enjoyed the feature poet who was none other than Rudy Francisco, a very accomplished poet who has won the 2009 National Underground Poetry Slam, 2010 San Diego Grand Slam, 2010 San Francisco Grand Slam and that’s just to name a few. The feature poet is the equivalent to the halftime show at a football game. Rudy was given 20 minutes to perform his original pieces. I found Rudy very engaging and very authentic. Personally, I think it’s imperative that poets are as real and as genuine as possible and Rudy was both of those things. My favorite poem that he performed was about complainers.

Rudy Francisco featuring at #LTABDMV Grand Slam Finals

Rudy Francisco featuring at #LTABDMV Grand Slam Finals

I can honestly say that there is no better way I could have spent my Saturday than at LTAB-DMV finals. Listening to the youth’s stories and their opinions about what changes need to be made in the world gave me hope. I am no longer doubtful about the future of our youth because from what I’ve witnessed at LTAB-DMV, our future looks very, very bright.   — written by Shayla Johnson, 17-year-old student, Chavez Fellowship Program, Split This Rock