The points are not the point, the point is the poetry! I said the points are not the point, the point is the poetry! That is the mantra of Louder Than A Bomb, a slam poetry festival, and I could not agree more. Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th of April I went to UMass Boston for LTAB prelims. This was my first year going with the Peabody Poetry Collective, and we rocked it. Our Friday night bou we placed second and the bout on Saturday we got 1st. But as i already stated twice before, the points do not matter at all. It is all about the poetry. We may be competitive, but we are all there for our love of the art of spoken word. We understand how each poet has worked so hard to prepare for prelims.
The first thing I noticed was the positive energy that filled the whole campus. Everyone was so excited and pumped to hear the words of other poets. We all yelled “Listen to the poem!” when we thought the judges should have scored higher and we hollered when high scores wwere being called. People were reacting here and there during people’s poems and it was absolutey awesome. The second thing that I noticed was that everyone was extremely kind and supportive. I noticed this during my first bout. People from other teams would pause when they could not remember a line and the crowd would cheer the poet on. We yelled things like “You can do it poet!” and “Great job keep it up poet!” until they remembered. Always snapping and encouraging each poet that their work is awesome.
I knew it was going to be a great weekend when my coach tld my team “Let’s make history!” as we walked into the building. At the registration area I met up with some people I knew from Crossing The Street (The opening ceremony for LTAB). friendship is a huge part of LTAB, which is another reason why I love this poetry festival so much. I get to meet people from across the state that have the same passion of poetry as I and support them and their work. They say poets make the best friends, and I can testify that that is the truth!
My team performed our first bout of the competition in the Snowden Auditorium at 7 PM. I couldn’t believe it that Michelle, an alumn of the Peabody slam team and “Mama bear”, was our bout manager. I was also extremely happy to see that my friend from the Billerica slam team, my school friends, and my slam poet Boston Nerdfighter friend (Colin) were all able to watch. My teammates did a spectacular job with their individual pieces, and I did a pretty damn good job myself. Our group piece was amazing and scored high, but we did get a 1 point penalty for time. Regardless, our coach was still proud. 826 Writers slam team won that round, us trailing close behind. 826 very much deserved that win too.
Saturday was quite the interesting day. I decided to go with one of my teammates to go cheer on Billerica during their bout. I watched my friends Dawn and Connor, whom I met at Crossing The Street, perform and they were awesome. I was in awe at how Dawn could rhyme so well. rhyming is an extremely hard skill for me, so for her to rhyme so easily is a very strong talent. Connor was amazing in the Harbor Gallery with his performance. The group piece that Billerica did was about feminism and I was captivated. I almost fell off the bench because I was in a trance with their words.Billerica took 2nd in their bout, which was completely amazing.
My team did their bout next in the same spot and I was so happy that my dad was able to watch. Billerica and FreeVerse came to watch my team slam. We have a historical friendship between the teams, which I personally think is rad. The judges were scoring high and the competition was stiff, but we pulled through. I got my first 9s in that bout, and also recieved a score of 9.9 which was my personal highest for an individual piece. I would say personal highest period, but we scored three 10s on our group piece. I was shaking so much I thought I was going to pass out. I probably would have if I was not sitting and keeping hydrated. I even made a new friend from another team that liked what my poem had to say. Billerica and Peabody then headed to the Ryan Auditorium to support FreeVerse in their last bout. It was no surprise that they took first, although Quincy was pretty amazing and their skills were on point.
After the final bouts Dawn and I headed to our first workshop in the, which was about continuing poetry and how we can incoroporate it in a professional setting or college setting after high school. I learned quite a lot and realized that Science Auditorium I don’t ever have to give up poetry. I then left Dawn as she stayed for the Activism Workshop while I went back to the Ryan Lounge for the Wet Ink open mic. Unfortunately I did not get to perform, but two of my teammates did and so did my friends Connor, Kat, and Michelle. Wet ink poems are poems that are new and fresh. I fell twice during the open mic. Once trying to get four slices of pizza to my team and once getting up from my chair. May have frightened a volunteer, ut that’s EDS for you. The open mic ended at 7 and then we cleared the chairs and had a dance party. I danced a little, but mainly had chocolate ice cream, sitting with my friend Emma from Quincy, and writing a new poem which would turn out to be my first rhyming slam poem.
Overall I had the best experience of my life. There is no feeling like the adrenaline you get when you walk off that stage after leaving everything you had on that stage. There is no feeling like when you relate to another poet’s poem and you snap and cheer. There is no other feeling like LTAB. LTAB is LTAB, and its a bucket list item accomplished. It was so much walking though and the stairs in the McCormack building are Satan to EDSers and those with chronic illness, yet I am stubborn so i took the stairs like the rest of my team. Probably the reason why I am sitting on my bed typing this at 1:07 AM in zebra pjs and in pain. Tomorrow is going to be a terrible joint day, but I could care less. I went to LTAB and my voice was heard. I did poetry and I had fun. Crossing my fingers that we pulled through to semis so I can live this feeling of euphoria once again.