This year’s Louder Than a Bomb Youth Slam is underway, and the BHS team is thrilled to be one of 40 MA schools participating. Last Saturday’s Crossing the Street Ceremony at the ICA Boston marked the opening of a two month-long program designed to inspire young writers by showing them the value of their voices and the necessity of being heard. The event was an enormous success, one that left our poets feeling empowered and ready to speak up.
After the BHS Student Day of Poetry, facilitated by Mass LEAP and Flatline Poetry, our team has been preparing their individual pieces for performance, working together to write a group poem, and engaging with the community of scholar artists who came together last weekend to “cross the street” by crossing boundaries, meeting new people, getting out of a comfort zone, writing loudly, and honoring each others’ words. The Crossing the Street Ceremony sets the tone for the LTAB MA festival by celebrating shared stories. It is an event that shows students that they are part of a community, part of something big and inspiring.
The day started with a series of writing workshops led by local poets. Students had the opportunity to write everything from collaged haikus to social justice sonnets, all while gaining experience and insight from some of the most talented authors in Massachusetts. After the workshops, and time to eat and tour the beautiful ICA, youth poets took part in a group writing exercise. Working with students from different schools, they responded to a series of prompts, and in fifteen minutes each group prepared a collaborative poem. The performances of these pieces showcased both the exceptional talent and the community energy in the room.
The day concluded with an introduction to the ICA Reads program, which is basically a dream book club – one that makes the connection between art and literature by highlighting a contemporary book that reflects the art exhibited in the museum. The program launched last year with Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, a book that spoke to many of our student poets with such a strong impact that it prompted the English Department to add it to the list of summer reading options for 2016. This year’s highlighted book is Jesmyn Ward’s memoir Men We Reaped. All the LTAB poets are invited to attend her talk at the ICA this coming Saturday.
The Crossing the Street Ceremony is just the beginning of LTAB MA 2016. The preliminary bouts are Friday, April 15th and Saturday, April 16th at UMass Boston. Poetic Ramblings is beyond excited to share the stage and the mic with students from all over the state in this festival.