Young Chicago authors gather for poetry slam

March 3, 2008 5:44:44 PM PST
Poetry slams are gaining popularity. They are events where poets perform their works in front of a crowd. If they really get the crowd screaming they have "slammed" their poem. Some of the best high school poets in the Chicago area got together Monday to find out who is the best of the best.

High school students from the city and suburbs were competing in the 8th annual Young Chicago Authors Poetry Slam Monday at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

When the two-week event started there were 48 high schools. When it's all over, there will be just one winning high school and one winning poet. The whole event is called "Louder Than a Bomb."

"We believe the stories of young people are more powerful than any weapon... It's about words and language and using that as a tool to communicate as opposed to weapons," said Kevin Coval, "Louder Than A Bomb".

"I don't want a masters ..... a bachelors or a graduate or a PHD ..... I want to be a rock star."

This was the semi-finals, cutting the field down to just four teams. The finals will be Sunday, March 9 at the Vic Theatre. Here poets, not athletes, get standing ovations.

"It's really, really great for people my age to be listening to poetry and interpreting it and caring so much about what other people have to say. AND STANDING OVATIONS. I know, it's wonderful," said Claire Niederberger, Northside College Prep.

"My tongue is split between two first languages and two homes. My speech is an articulated approximation of two different places. They're faces that fit together like puzzle pieces that make up this jigsaw state of being. A beautiful mosaic that crashes on the blacktop and crumbles," said Sophmore Esther Ikoro, Morgan Park High School poet.

The entire slam is being turned into a feature length documentary for release next year.