Poetry is not something you might expect to find inside juvenile detention. But at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, more than 20 residents took the microphone and delivered intense and passionate spoken word performances.
The event is held in collaboration with Young Chicago Authors, Free Write Jail Arts and is supported by the Chicago Community Trust.
It’s part of the Louder Than A Bomb youth poetry festival, put on every year by YCA. Each year since 2005, WBEZ has invited competition finalists into our studios to record their work, which is presented here, along with other full length recordings.
Founded in 2001, Louder Than a Bomb is an annual youth poetry slam which engages schools and community organizations from throughout the Chicago region.
Aiming to bring teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines, LTAB is a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral storytelling, and hip-hop spoken word.
Recorded live May 8, 2014 at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
The students’ poems are at the following times in the audio:
Rocks and Diamonds (0:14:00)
Why Me? (0:17:00)
I Love God (0:18:00)
A poem about the streets (0:19:00)
Without You (0:20:00)
A story about my life (0:24:10)
Rest in Peace (0:25:50)
A Life Story (0:27:30)
Life Growing Up (0:29:20)
I’m Tired (0:30:50)
Daddy’s Girl (0:33:40)
I’m From (0:35:35)
(no name) (0:38:40)
Angry Me (0:39:50)
Til Morning (0:41:20)
Here I Stand (0:43:05)
I Am, I Can, and I Will (0:46:20)
Bonus poems by adults:
A Man’s Cry (1:13:30)
Where I’m From (1:06:00)