The largest youth poetry contest in the world is coming to Cincinnati. A Poetry Slam, Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB) began in 2001, born from the streets of Chicago and the growing uneasiness following the attacks of 9/11, the passage of anti-gang / loitering laws, and radical gentrification occurring throughout the city. The not-for-profit organization Young Chicago Authors sought the voice of youth that were being ostracized and disenfranchised generally but specifically in their own schools, because they were rarely, if ever, asked to be present or to represent their actual, everyday lives.

As they say in Chicago, the point is not the points, the point is the poetry. Through poetry, our city's youth will engage one another, hearing each other's stories, reflecting on what it means to be a youth in Cincinnati today. The program breaks down the appearance of otherness—a separateness from one another, leading to increased isolation and confrontational attitudes and actions. It would not be unfair to say that "points for poems is silly." The value of the program is that it offers a vehicle for the voice of the youth, while providing mentorship and guidance, personal confidence, an improved sense of agency, and a broader understanding of others, all the while increasing literacy and community among young students through competition.

The majority of youth in Cincinnati live in poverty, in one of the most gentrified cities in the US, and with high racial tensions. Our youth are disenfranchised and disillusioned. Their voice has been quashed and their agency is absent. But they have unique experiences. They have a story to tell. Join us for Louder Than A Bomb – Cincinnati, as we give voice and a platform to today's youth. Be a part of the largest poetry slam contest on the face of the earth!

Participating schools will have 4 – 8 student poets and a teacher leading them through a set curriculum. Teachers will be support by local and national teaching artists, a series of professional development workshops, and participating organizations.

Crossing the Streets

February 18, 2017
Elementz, 1100 Race St.


March 11, 2017
UC, Uptown Campus, DAAP 5401

Seminfinals will include up to twelve (12) teams and thirty six (36) individuals. The seminfinals will be held on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), in room 5401.


April 8, 2017
Corbett Theater, School for Creative and Performing Arts

Founded in 1973 as part of the Bronson desegregation lawsuit settlement against Cincinnati Public Schools, the School for The Creative and Performing Arts is host to the most diverse student body in the region and has produced notable graduates in virtually every artistic field including award-winning actors, directors, singers, dancers, musicians, stage technicians, designers and arts educators. Doors will open at 4:45 and finals begin at 5:30 PM.

Malcolm London

Cincinnati Finals MC

Malcolm London, poet and activist, will join us this year as MC for the Louder than a Bomb Cincinnati Finals. For information on Malcolm, please visit his website at