Grant Spotlight: Louder Than a Bomb
Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB) is a teen poetry festival founded in 2001 by Young Chicago Authors. The event aims to bring teens together across racial and socio-economic lines as a friendly competition that fosters self-expression, teamwork, confidence, and community via poetry, oral storytelling, and hip-hop spoken word.
The Nebraska Writers Collective brought LTAB to Omaha for a 2011-2012 season, when 12 Nebraska high schools organized teams. The program has continued to grow, now reaching more than 35 high schools in Nebraska and Council Bluffs.
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 talent.
Many workshops and events take place during the festival season, which begins every autumn and ends with a friendly tournament in March and April of the following year. Hundreds of young poets take the stage with impressive confidence to deliver their original works.
Participating in Louder Than a Bomb is a life-changing experience for many students. One is Lincoln North Star High School student Serenity Stokes, who was honored with the November 2015 Student Spotlight by Nebraskans for the Arts. She also won the Spirit of the Slam Award at the 2015 festival and was a member of the state championship team.
Serenity says that slam poetry has helped her develop skills in leadership, diligence, and making connections between what she learns in a classroom and what she observes in the world.
“It makes everything a new opportunity, a new friend, a new way to help,” she said. “If I show them a part of me, they show a part of themselves back.”