Louder than a Bomb, Chicago's youth poetry slam, takes an overseas tour

January 5, 2012

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(Courtesy of Louder than a Bomb)
Nova Venerable, one of the young poets depicted in 'Louder than a Bomb,' performs onstage.

The new documentary Louder than a Bomb depicts the world’s largest youth poetry slam, which takes place here in Chicago. Every year, students from local high schools gather to tell their stories in the form of highly emotional, expressive spoken word poetry. And every year, the crowd goes wild.

But what happens when you try to share this quintessentially Chicago story with audiences abroad? Co-director Jon Siskel recently found out when the U.S. State Department chose Louder than a Bomb for an initiatve called the American Documentary Showcase.

Jon traveled to the Netherlands and Angola to screen the film and soon he'll head to Burma. His collaborators took it to Malawi, Zambia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. He talks to Worldview about how this story, one that's rooted in Chicago's urban youth culture, translates abroad.

To listen to Louder than a Bomb finalists from the past six year recite their poetry, click here. To hear full-length recordings of LTAB events, click here.

 

Watch the trailer for Louder than a Bomb:

 

In this extra from the film, Nova Venerable reads her poem "Apartment on Austin":

 

Nate Marshall reads his poem "Super Tuesday":