Why we love spoken word (LTAB registration now open!)

What’s fast, furious, and socially charged?

Spoken word (video below). We love what it does for Chicago, for our students, for the arts community, and for anyone who has anything to say (or hear) about society and the many challenges that living in society presents. That’s especially true for youth; they have plenty to say, but they don’t always have a forum in which people listen. As Young Chicago Authors founder Kevin Coval puts it, “Maybe the way we judge kids and their intelligence, maybe we have that wrong. And maybe it’s in part that we have that wrong because we don’t ask them enough about what they think.”

Louder Than a Bomb, presented by Young Chicago Authors, is Chicago’s Youth Poetry Festival. Annually, youth from all over the city compete (either on teams or as individuals) and attempt to slam their way through preliminary bouts, semi-final bouts…and on to the final showdown. The competition runs February 15-March 15, 2014.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Sign up HERE, or encourage your poetically inclined students, kids, friends’ kids, etc to sign up.

And be sure to attend! Tickets available soon HERE.

(Did we mention that this competition is featured in an incredible documentary of the same name? http://www.louderthanabombfilm.com/about-the-film.php Check it out, learn more….yes, it’s on Netflix.)

Urban Gateways & spoken word

Spoken word abounds in Urban Gateways programming. We run literary arts residencies with spoken word artists; send spoken word performers to schools through our touring programs; and incorporate this dynamic art form whenever possible.

Our students at EPIC Academy participated in a spoken word residency with teaching artist Avery R. Young during the 2012-13 school year and performed at LTAB 2013:

Plus, Avery and fellow spoken word artist Kristiana Rae Colón performed at last year’s ArtSEE (spoken word by Simeon Career Academy students will be featured at the 2014 Art for All Gala):

And Urban Gateways touring group Chicago Slam Works brings spoken word to schools with their live assembly “Voices of Chicago”. Footage from a Chicago Slam Works assembly:

So what?

So this: Spoken word engages students, their families and communities, and the entire city in a kind of dialogue that is not always open or accessible. Help it get fired up. Attend this year’s Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, LTAB, or bring a spoken word program to your community – contact Albert about artist residencies and Tarah about touring programs.

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