Slam poets share their souls, time on local stage at Louder Than A Bomb festival

by Allison Ostapowicz

Marian’s Slam Poetry club has been competing in Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB) events for four years. Slam meets every Tuesday after school where the club does workshops, shares personal poems and writes poems based off prompts given to them. 

After winter break they start to prepare for the Louder Than a Bomb competitions held in the spring. LTAB is a teen poetry festival started in 2001 by young Chicago authors. 

The event aims “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 storytelling and hip-hop spoken word.” 

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Speaking out, sounding proud  Courtney Kilroy ’18, Anna Methe ’ 20, Shelby Yaghoutfam ’20 and Lily Watkins ’18 perform their group piece titled “Our Fire and our Fury.” The team placed 20th in the Louder Than a Bomb Competition 2018.

The club spends lots of time revising the poems they use in competitions. Toward the beginning of the school year, the club consists more of open poetry. The girls in Slam Poetry share pieces they have written to get feedback or just to share a bit about their life. 

Sharing poetry consists of sharing very personal aspects of your life and having all your emotions out on the table for everyone to experience. 

“Sharing poetry is the equivalent of going on a first date and revealing all your feelings and deepest, darkest secrets. But because we have shared all the deep dark stuff, us girls in Slam have become so close because we have already talked about everything and everything is out on the table,” senior and co-captain Courtney Kilroy said.

Senior Lily Watkins is a co-captain along with Kilroy. Watkins’ jobs consists of sending out all emails reminding girls of their deadlines. Kilroy and Watkins show the members what being a team means. They show leadership skills so the club will run smoothly when they graduate.

Watkins has been a member of Slam Poetry since her freshman year at Marian. Kilroy has been a member since her sophomore year. “Slam has taught me how to give feedback, also how to share how I am feeling and make poetry out of it,” Kilroy said. 

“I love expressing myself through Slam Poetry in a safe, fun environment with people who understand and don’t judge me. I will be a part of the club next year. We have no juniors in the club at the moment and the seniors are leaving, so next year I’ll be one of club leaders along with sophomore Shelby Yaghoutfam,” said sophomore Anna Methe.

One of the club’s two coaches is Carolina Hotchandani who was an English professor at Northwestern. Hotchandani highlights the writing and grammar aspects of the poetry, and gives the girls feedback on their writings. 

The second coach is Traci Schacht who has a background in social activism and has been a part of Marian’s Slam Poetry Club for two years. Schacht helps the girls with voice control, volume, gestures and performance. 

“With the balance between grammar and performance it has made our team a lot more successful and well-rounded,” Watkins said. 

“When I first worked at Marian I saw how cool the club was and knew I wanted to be a part of it. I think it’s the coolest club at Marian,” club moderator Ms. Adie Magistro said. 

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