Putting the Slam in Team

Tina Czaplinska Co-Editor-in-Chief   One of Latin’s coolest teams doesn’t even involve any sporting goods. Why play basketball when you can avoid it for the rest of your life anyway? Latin’s slam poetry team, Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB), hopefully wholeheartedly agrees with me. Latin’s team is part of a citywide team, which stems from a past more complicated than our own. LTAB was founded in 2001, when the nation was dealing with the tragedy of 9/11. Additionally, Chicago was struggling to justify anti gang loitering laws, which aimed to take away young people’s—usually of color—rights to congregate on the streets in groups of more than two people. Aiming to ease the city’s political and cultural tensions, Kevin Coval and Anna West created a haven for Chicago’s youth to express themselves through the spoken word. And express they do! In the past years, besides weekly Wednesday meetings, Latin’s LTAB has participated in the Crossing The Street poetry bout and other bouts. Slam has been performed during Latin’s Lit Fest, Talent Show, and Thanksgiving Assembly. Despite this, LTAB is craving more. Mr. Joyce, the team’s coach, emphasizes the importance of creating a “writing culture at Latin.” Members of Latin’s LTAB stress the value of the team to each of them individually. “Even though everyone is involved with three other things, everyone is kind and supportive. A fun bunch! They’re utilizing their creativity and just venting.” Sophomore Miya Coleman says, “One of the reasons I do slam poetry is because of the team. During the meetings everyone is sharing and you start to see parts of people that you never knew about before. Everyone is just really comfortable with each other and it is great.” Senior Cameron Arkin notes that the team is “definitely personal” where you “get to know each other as people with vulnerabilities.” The team also agrees that Mr. Joyce is a huge part of the team’s closeness. “He is extremely talented and leaves it up to us how we want to write. He’s there as our skeleton, if you will. He’s coordinates and keeps us on track which is what a creative club needs.” As always, LTAB will be showing the LTAB Documentary in December. Next semester, the team is hoping to host a few themed open-mic nights, just as a fun way for students to listen to some poetry together. “The team’s atmosphere makes it okay for people to slam. And that’s what slam is about, it is about speaking up,” Cam continues, “It is a commitment that takes a lot of courage. Getting over any fear of performance and vulnerability.”  ]]>