In my non-photography life, I am a full-time English teacher and I teach in the city. I also coach a spoken word poetry team--and this week and the last week....and next week, I have found myself inside a classroom until 5...6...7pm at night getting my students ready to compete in the most amazing even in the entire world--LTAB. See, there is is this program run by Young Chicago Author's called Louder than a Bomb and it literally changes and saves lives. Saves lives. LTAB runs the last 2 weeks of February and the 1st week of March and, for the past 12 years, has transformed this cold, frozen landscape into a bastian of spoken word poetry led by our amazing children. LTAB is all about students coming together from all across the city, meeting up, writing poetry, spitting their work and being scored for it, though, as we try to remind students constantly, "The point is not the points, the point is the poetry." Students on a team of 6 others compete in 2 "bouts" (think Olympic style!) and then move on (or don't as the case more often is) to semi-finals and, finally, finals. If you're sitting there thinking "How could spoken word poetry be that cool?" then let me try to let the videos below speak for themselves. If you are living in Chicago now and you have not yet attending an LTAB event, RUN to the nearest one--because, and I say this with all honesty and genuinity, you will never be the same. I promise.
I'll be honest--usually I'm complaining about living in Chicago. I will fully admit that this concrete laden city is not my ideal setting--I'm much more of a wide open spaces kind of girl (insert Dixie Chicks line here), but 7 years ago when we moved here, I put aside my yerning for space and accepted that Chicago would be home, at least for awhile. So, despite my somewhat less than loveable relationship with the city of Big Shoulders, I would like to spend about 3 minutes doing a shout out to possibly the BEST and most amazing program that exists: Louder than a Bomb