First up, you gotta hear some of these poems. Ella unpacks some familiar nursery rhymes, for our present moment; Mama explains why nobody gets an “N-word” pass; Anabel examines the border crisis through a child’s eyes; Nola shatters the “life planning” mold and seeks a higher love; and Ornella digs deep into the heart of an Angry Black Woman.
Since its initial sparks on the streets of Chicago in 2001, the Louder Than a Bomb program has grown into the world’s largest student poetry competition, and Cincinnati is home to an active local chapter.
Meet five outstanding student participants (Ella Beverly, Mama Nije, Anabel Villanueva, Nola Stowe, Ornella Siaka), representing Finneytown, Princeton, and Walnut Hills high schools, and adult spoken word artist Jamie-Lee Morris, of Elementz, who oversees LTAB Cincinnati.
This year’s “grand slam” finals, originally set for April 3-4 at the Freedom Center, had to be cancelled, but organizers are working on a streaming version later this month, with team members submitting video performances of their poems and judges reviewing and scoring the clips in real time, remotely—stay tuned for more details on that.
In the meantime, enjoy five absolutely incendiary poems, plus some heartfelt conversation between the poets about their inspirations, aspirations, and personal challenges.
Special thanks to all the LTAB Cincinnati organizers and coaches: Amy Lind, of Taft Research Center and University of Cincinnati; Sean Keating-Crawford, Taft Research Center; Jamie-Lee Morris,of Elementz; Cincinnati Poet Laureate Manuel Iris; Kyle Scudder, Walnut Hills High School; Desirae “The Silent Poet” Hosley, of WordPlay; Jori An Cotton, of WordPlay and Aiken High School; Janine Smith and Justin Williams, Woodward High School; Andrew Dalton, Dater High School; Christopher Kline, Western Hills University High School.