Poet Bryan Byrdlong was a 17-year-old senior at Whitney Young High School when he competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2011, representing his high school.
Bryan says his poem, performed here, is an appeal to his father, who Bryan says is racist against white people.
Bryan describes the people his father distains as stars that are undoubtedly wondrous. In his poem, the son tries to use his father’s own logical thinking to change his mind.
I introduced you to Patrick, kindergarden commrade,
you, grabbed me, my hand and dragged me away
saying we don't talk to those... people.
Each week, WBEZ will feature a poem from the Louder Than a Bomb collection that explores the issue of race. We offer the poems as part of Race: Out Loud, a collaborative production of WBEZ and vocalo, which aims to get us talking to each other about race.
The largest of its kind in the world, Louder Than A Bomb is Chicago’s rapidly growing teen poetry festival. It aims to bring teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines. It's a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling, and hip-hop spoken word. Each year, Chicago Public Media invites festival finalists to record their work.
Click here to hear nearly 200 Louder Than a Bomb finalist pieces recorded over the past eight years.