We very rarely support fundraising at eight cuts, not because we’re mean but because we’re both broke and absolutely hate the idea of having to get behind some things and not others, but this is an exception. I’ll let the people involved explain in their own words:
For the last nine years, the London Teenage Poetry SLAM project has provided an annual exchange program for deserving and underprivileged young poets. Chicagoan poets, educators and students opened their arms to those London poets, and over seven days of workshops, visits to local schools, performances and late-night conversations, we’ve built an international poetry community. The week is often seen as life changing.
One British poet described the exchange in Chicago: “That week I experienced how powerful poetry is; how it can bring all kinds of people together in the most unexpected places. I went out a new and nervous writer, and came back a poet.”
This year, for the Olympic year and 10th year of this powerful collaborative experience, we want to make it happen again with a twist by having the Chicago area poets go London. We’re aiming to bring four young poets ages 18-24 and one chaperone across the Atlantic for a week of writing, learning, teaching and international exchange.
LOUDER THAN A BOMB is a film about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust. It’s about the joy of being young, and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise, and finding your voice.
It also just happens to be about poetry.
Every year, more than six hundred teenagers from over sixty Chicago area schools gather for the world’s largest youth poetry slam, a competition known as “Louder Than a Bomb”. Founded in 2001, Louder Than a Bomb is the only event of its kind in the country—a youth poetry slam built from the beginning around teams. Rather than emphasize individual poets and performances, the structure of Louder Than a Bomb demands that kids work collaboratively with their peers, presenting, critiquing, and rewriting their pieces. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many kids, being a part of such an environment—in an academic context—is life-changing.
LOUDER THAN A BOMB chronicles the stereotype-confounding stories of four teams as they prepare for and compete in the 2008 event. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa. This is not “high school poetry” as we often think of it. This is language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance. How and why they do it—and the community they create along the way—is the story at the heart of this inspiring film.
And we are basically trying to get them over here as part of a slam exchange project which we have to self fund as we don’t have any gov funding!
They will be performing all over London and at the UK’s biggest ever Youth Slam – Shake The Dust – as well as performing at an event to showcase the transformative effects of Spoken Word In Education! which we’re hoping will help us get spoken word into the national curriculum over here!
Volunteers will be donating their time to make this happen, and poets and teachers will be welcoming us in their homes to keep costs to a minimum. However, to ensure the trip happens, we need to cover the cost of the airfare.
If the poets get here, they will be here from July 1-4, and we at eight cuts will be following their progress with interest and I very much hope getting involved i some way to help on the ground. Thank you for listening.