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Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) was founded in 2001, through the Young Chicago Authors, by Kevin Coval and Anna West and went on to become the largest youth poetry festival in the world, featuring more than 120 schools representing over 100 zip codes within the Chicago-land area. LTAB was created to give Chicago youth 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 was founded on a student-centered, educational philosophy geared toward young people, ages 13-19. The “trick of the poetry slam,” states Coval, “is to use the guise of competition to attract interest in [the telling of stories through the written word].” The most critical component of LTAB is the year-round, meaningful instruction inside the classroom with teachers, who create and facilitate a safe space for individual and collective self-expression.
Louder Than a Bomb Florida (LTABFLA)
Building upon the amazing impact the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network has had on area youth since launching the program in 2013, football legend Jason Taylor and his Jason Taylor Foundation took bluapple to new heights by bringing the “Super Bowl of Poetry” to South Florida! The 2014-15 school year marked the launch of Louder Than a Bomb Florida (LTABFLA), empowering and uniting South Florida’s youth and community through the art of the spoken word.
At the start of each school year, teachers and students from schools as far south as Homestead and at times, as far north Jacksonville, often with the assistance of a bluapple Teaching Artist, begin working, learning, creating and sharing within their classrooms, in after-school clubs and through various teen open mics throughout South Florida, developing safe spaces for individual and collective expression on their respective campuses and in their communities.
The culmination of this work will manifest in the form of the 8th annual Louder Than A Bomb Florida, a 25-day festival, which is highlighted by a friendly competition taking place in dynamic venues throughout the tri-county area. A diverse group of students, parents, administrators and community members representing more than 30 elementary, middle and high schools will participate in LTABFLA 2022 events, creating authentic narratives to reimagine the self and one another while developing mutual respect and tolerance for difference.
To see the full impact of what this groundbreaking program had on South Florida in just its first year, please click here.
The point is the poetry
This powerful, youth initiative aims to:
- Utilize the poetry slam as a community organizing tool, unifying our wonderfully diverse, extremely spread out South Florida population – LTABFLA bridges gaps between community borders and introduces teens who would not otherwise meet. The festival will also bring students, educators, business leaders and others from the tri-county area and beyond together into a variety of unique cultural, civic and educational spaces across Broward County and beyond.
- Make the student the center of their educational experience – LTABFLA inverts the traditional educational paradigm by asking students what THEY think, see and experience in their worlds, often re-engaging students at schools, while still meeting educational standards.
- Empower young people with tools necessary for success – LTABFLA provides students with a platform for their voices to be heard. These students realize the strength they possess and are validated through the stories they tell and experiences they share.