The first time I stepped foot on a stage to perform a slam poem, I was seventeen, and nervous as could be. In high school, I loved writing, and that love has only grown since then. I found a first place where I could finally join others in my love to create poetry and be moved by it, that place was Louder Than A Bomb. Every Monday after school I spent time in Mr.Cribbs English classroom with other poets, and we developed one of the best clubs I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of! I went into this program at sixteen years old, barely brave enough to speak when called on in class, and I came out of it with the courage to speak my mind, create beautiful things, and have the strength to share them.
Most people haven't heard of Louder Than A Bomb, seeing as how poetry isn't exactly the coolest club to be a part of in high school. That didn't matter to my group though. We were singers, we were musicians, we were mathematicians, we were athletes, but the thing that connected us all, we were poets.
Louder Than A Bomb is for slam poetry, it's a competitive atmosphere, that works on an olympic point system. Poems are scored on a scale from one to ten. Although the poets are competing, and the goal is to advance your team forward, at the end of the day, it isn't about the score, its about the words. If you have the privilege to attend a slam you'll hear "Listen to the poet!" about a million times when a poem is scored, and hopefully by the end of the night, you'll be shouting it too.
At seventeen years old I had the amazing opportunity to immerse myself into a totally new world. A world where it didn't who you were, where you were coming from, or what you were talking about. people wanted to hear it. I met some life long friends through slam poetry, I heard some of the most beautiful poems ever written, and I was a part of something bigger and more exciting than I knew existed!
There's actually a documentary on Netflix about Louder Than A Bomb and its origins in Chicago, and I highly encourage everyone to watch it! Even if you aren't a writer yourself, it's worth it.
People would be surprised with what they're able to create. You could go your whole life thinking you're a terrible writer just because you can't write five paragraph MLA styled essays- challenge this thought. Write. Literature makes us immortal.
This is the poem I wrote and performed my senior at Louder Than A Bomb state finals!
I'm a firm believer than there's a poet in all of us, and that you are capable of changing the world with the words you speak. So get out there, create some good, and live loudly. Louder Than A Bomb is all about giving a voice to the voiceless, and even if you're not in high school you can be a part of the slam poetry world (check out Button Poetry if you want to blow your mind).
Please check out the Louder Than A Bomb documentary, go to the slams that will be starting up soon, and let yourself experience some amazing poetry. Support local poets! Support local poets! I cannot say it enough! You are surrounded with some of the best poets of our lifetime and you might not even know it- SUPPORT LOCAL POETS. In Tulsa check out OLAA for more information on Louder Than A Bomb!
I'm leaving you with a quote from the poem that continually inspires me, "Poet Breathe Now" by Adam Gottlieb.
"Poet, breathe now – because it’s the last thing you’ll ever do for yourself. Poet, breathe now because there’s a fire inside you that needs oxygen to burn, and if you don’t run out of breath, you’re gonna run out of time. Poet, breathe now because once the spot gets packed you gotta save that air for screamin, your -- inhalation takes saviorisms to sky-highs you gotta go with the flowin’ of your own voice. Poet, breathe now because once you spit, you won’t even need air, you'll be rockin’ rhymes respiratory, you’ll breathe poetry, baby." - Adam Gottlieb.