Here’s to the poets, because without you guys this journey would have definitely been dull and pretty silly in hindsight. Thank you for sharing so much of your stories with us, we can’t help but feel honored to have had this opportunity with all of you.
Here’s a note from each of us. Enjoy.
While it pains me to say I never got to participate in LTAB as a competing poet – having graduated high school the year before it began –, I’m absolutely thrilled to have experienced it from the sidelines as an intern, cameraman, judge, emcee, and heavy lifter of official LTAB merch boxes.
Attending literally every bout of the competition there was to attend had a strange effect on me – I felt as if, although I’d never spoken to most of the poets, I somehow knew them through their work. Several poets will forever stick out in my mind based on the poems they read. Here are a few of them: the group from Thomas Jefferson, for stirring up a fabulous school controversy with their poem criticizing the “meninist movement” – what brave, progressive souls they are!; Tiauna Lewis, for her timely truth bombs about racism today; Serenity Stokes, for making me tear up regardless of how many times I hear that poem about her dad; Macey Foard, for being such a smart, funny wordsmith; and the final group from Lincoln High, for ending team finals with a beautiful celebration of language diversity.
However, it was the last bout of indy finals that produced my favorite LTAB moment of all. Even after Tiauna Lewis placed first, neither Macey Foard nor Helen Winston gave off any hint of bitterness. Rather, there were hugs, applause, and smiles all around. Truly, the point wasn’t the points – the point was the poetry, after all. Yes, it’s a cheesy thing to say, but sometimes real life is cheesy. Cheesy and creative and utterly genuine.
And to the Interns,
I’ll miss you guys. It’s not fair that this has to end. Thanks for being worse dancers than me. We got lucky together. I’ll be listening for your YAAASSS.
This internship has been a really awesome and amazing experience, and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it. NWC was an incredible organization to be affiliated with, and Louder Than a Bomb was even better. The best part of Ltab as an intern was being able to witness all the incredibly talented young poet perform their poetry at every bout. Whenever I would tell people I have this internship they always ask me, “What do you do? Or what is your internship?” Whenever I explain it to them they don’t seem very interested because it’s poetry and teenagers and all that doesn’t seem very entertaining and enjoyable. Actually and honestly, watching these young poets perform their poetry is some of the most enjoyable and entertaining things I would rather watch. Some of the topics and words they use to express their feelings is unbelievable and amazing to come out of a 15, 16, 17, or 18 year old person. I’m impressed, amazed, and even slightly jealous at times from the outstanding talent I was able to witness throughout the entire event. I also really enjoyed working alongside some amazing people affiliated with NWC and the entire Ltab event. Everyone such as Matt Mason, Stacey Waite, Nicholas Bell, Greg Harries, and Katie F. S. have been incredible people to work under and enjoy some fun times the entire time. They are all truly some outstanding people and it honestly is sad that the internship and event is over and we are no longer working together as closely as we did. Most importantly I enjoyed working alongside all the other interns; Eric, Sam, Sarah, Maddie, Katie, and Rachel. All these people were absolutely incredible and great to work with, and I’m glad I was able to meet some new friends. In the future, I truly recommend people to look into this internship and become a part of it anyway they can. It’s a great opportunity and one of the best times someone can have. If there are people that don’t or can’t be a part of the internship, they should definitely go watch future Ltab bouts and witness some of the incredible talent that I was able to witness. It’s amazing and honestly words are tough to truly describe
To say Louder than a Bomb had an impact on my life would be to undermine said impact. Before being involved with this organization, I thought the slam poetry world in Nebraska was pretty much non existent, but, boy, was I wrong. I never knew such a gem had been hiding in plain sight the past 4 years.
These poets have made me cry, laugh, and burn with emotion with only their words. From that very first bout at UNL, I was hooked. I knew I had found something amazing. And it only got better. These poets poured their souls out for everyone listening and the amount of love given back from the audience was astounding. I just want these poets to know just how talented they are. They have the gift of being artists with their words, and that is something very few people can hold claim to.
My time as an intern has bestowed on me some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Sarah: the quirky one who I will always be able to have the strangest conversations with. Rachel: the one with her life together and who is honestly one of the hardest working people I know. Maddie: the one who wears her emotions on her sleeve and always sees the brighter side of life. Eric: the closet comedian with a heart of gold. Sam: the walking contradiction (poetry and metal) with great taste in music. Kirby: Rocker Pixie Jesus who only speaks when it’s comedic gold.
This internship was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so glad I got to share it with the people who did share it with me. Not to mention, it was led by the amazing Stacey Waite. I mean, come on. Could anyone be any cooler? (If you didn’t read that in a Chandler Bing voice then you need to reevaluate your life so far).
I just wanted to say thank you, for everything.
Hey guys, I am not sure where to start honestly. I haven’t been a part of an organization that I feel so strongly about in a very long time, and I want to start by thanking you for that. It was the first time in a long time that I was doing something that really mattered to me and I could tell that it mattered for the world as well, and I can’t repay you enough for that. I am truly so impressed with each and every one of you fabulous people. The transparency and honesty in your poetry exceeded my expectations every single time. This is such a special community and I hope that you all realize the impact that you make on every person you perform for. That room could be filled with 12 people or 1200, the ripples that I saw started with this organization cannot be contained.
Your poetry is filled with life experiences and perspectives shockingly similar and drastically varying my own. The stories that you each shared were so brave, I could not believe the ages of you all. The emotional maturity and brutal honesty made it possible for me to start facing the same issues in my own writing, and for that I thank you.
You guys also unknowingly brought some pretty amazing and perfectly awkward people into my life. I mean, what do you expect when you get 7 English majors in one room? For that I thank you.
Our time with you all may be coming to a close, but you will have our support from here on out! This organization has a way of creeping into your life and sticking on for good. Much like all other great art.
You guys are all Hemingway, Shakespeare and Kant. Keep bringing beauty to the world, we could use it.
There is a great deal to be said at the conclusion of this semester, and the conclusion of this year of Louder Than A Bomb. This tournament has allowed me to take part in something that I feel very passionate about, and has put me around people which have inspired me in a variety of ways. As I near the completion of my English degree, I have had the opportunity to put to use a lot of what I have learned about writing and poetry. I even found myself recalling things that I learned in High School regarding theater and performance.
Although Slam provided me with one of my earliest contexts for my own writing, in recent years I had not involved myself in the competitive and performance side of poetry. My focus had been the page for a long time, and in many ways is still a primary focus of my writing. However, watching the performances of so many great poets has an effect on you. It made me realize that even if the page poem is completely perfected, there is still a whole other aspect of poetry that we call “performance”. This, to me, even extends beyond the world of Slam. I don’t consider most of my work to be Slam material, but adding the consideration of performance, sound, and audience reaction into my writing has kept it from going stale.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this tournament has provided a very positive space for me to occupy during a very stressful time in my life (completing a degree, my first year being married to my amazing wife), and I have felt nothing but love in every room and on every stage I have had the pleasure to see.
On a more philosophical note, Louder Than A Bomb has also helped me address an issue that I have been considering for a while; that is, should art be competitive? I don’t believe that it is necessary for it to exist within the context of other artists and an audience, but I think it is far more exciting that way. It is difficult to reconcile the fact that we are reducing our own poetry into numerical scores, but I have yet to meet a poet who feels the scores are the overall objective for writing. Rather, it is about the community, the artists and the audiences, and being able to share a piece of your story and make your audience feel something. That is the objective, and in achieving that you are successful.
It is a little too depressing to end this as a “farewell” to this incredible year and this amazing group of people, so instead I’ll just say: see you next year.
I still can’t believe I got college credits for doing this.