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Louder Than a Bomb 2012: The 12th Annual Chicago Youth Poetry Festival

The largest of its kind in the world, Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) is Chicago’s rapidly-growing teen poetry festival, this year taking place at various venues around Chicago beginning February 18 and continuing through to the finals on March 10, 2012. 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 story-telling, and hip-hop spoken word.

As author and LTAB co-founder & Artistic Director Kevin Coval describes, “For three minutes at a time the students speak about their lives. For the other eighty-seven minutes, they are listening to the lives and stories and dreams of others. Kids that don’t look like them and come from a different neighborhood. In listening, the city shrinks.”

Traditionally operating outside of regular school programming, LTAB teams are often founded by students and coached pro-bono by teachers. Based on alumni surveys, LTAB boasts an 85% high school graduation rate and since inception has had zero incidents of violence. This year’s festival will feature 80 teams and nearly 700 students, the largest number of participants to date. The festival is an Olympic-style poetry competition with slam preliminaries and semi-final bouts running all day February 23 – March 5, followed by finals at The Vic Theater, 3145 North Sheffield Avenue, on Saturday, March 10. In addition to the competition there will be workshops, showcases, and panel discussions - see below for a complete schedule.

To hear performances by past Louder Than a Bomb poets, click here!

(Please check back as additional Festival events will be added to this schedule.)

Thursday, February 23 - Saturday, March 3 (various times)
Louder Than a Bomb 2012 Prelims
Columbia College Chicago and Chicago Cultural Center (various locations)
$5 for adults/$3 for students
*Group Sales are available in advance; more information coming soon!

Sunday, March 3 at 8PM
Louder Than A Bomb 2012 College Individual Finals
Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington)
$10 for adults/$5 for students

Monday, March 5 at 11AM and 1PM
Louder Than a Bomb 2012 Semi-Finals
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 North Lincoln Avenue)
$10 for adults/free to all students/free to participants
Click here for tickets!

Wednesday, March 7 at 7PM
Louder Than a Bomb 2012 Individual Poet Finals
Steppenwolf Theatre (1650 N. Halsted Street)
$15 for adults/$5 for students/free to participants
Tickets will be on-sale soon!

Saturday, March 10 at 6PM
Louder Than a Bomb 2012 Team Finals
The Vic Theater (3145 North Sheffield Avenue)
$20 for adults/$10 for students
Click here for tickets!

Louder Than a Bomb is co-presented by Columbia College Chicago and Vocalo 89.5FM/WBEZ 91.5FM.

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