The point is the poetry


Senior Julia Soulsby recites her own poem titled “Throwing yourself a pity party” at the Louder Than a Bomb invitational. Photographer Anny Martinez.

Adeline Davern, Reporter

Taft hosted the Sandra Cisneros Region-al Poetry Slam for Louder Than A Bomb on Friday, January 10, from 4:00 until 9:00 pm in the auditorium. Students from Taft’s poetry club competed against other schools like Von Steuben and Payton.

The slam consisted of four individual poets from each school as well as a Haiku Death Match round. Julia Soulsby (Div. 031), Gianna Christensen (Div. 411), Emma Cohler (Div. 411) and Lazlo Katona (Div. 112) competed for Taft. Students recited their own poems to be evaluated by a panel of judges.

“The event was such a cool opportunity to share my art with fellow writers. Also, it was a great warm up for LTAB starting next month,” said Katona. Katona received high scores, one being a perfect 10, for his poem “Lotto.”

Students train for competition by studying different forms of poetry and poems that speak to them. This serves as motivation for students to create their own poems.

“Often practice consists of looking at a mentor text or a poem that does something really well, such as extend a metaphor in an interesting way or creatively play with time or structure in the poem. We then write original pieces and spend time sharing our poems as a community of writers,” said Dooley.

Taft’s poetry club – Louder than a Bomb Team – coached by English teachers Ryan Dooley and Allison Taylor organized the poetry slam. Hosting the poetry slam required lots of preparation to set up for the competition while coaching Taft’s own students for their presentation.

“As a coach, I was preparing for the teams from across the city to have a welcoming experience in our building. This meant coordinating with Assistant Principal Patrick Levins and Drama teachers Jonathan Cohen and Quintin Nadig to make sure we have the spaces re-served after school, making sure we have sound and light equipment, and making sure students have a comfortable place to eat the evening of the slam,” said Dooley.

Nadig helped with lighting, sound, and lending of Drama Volunteers for the event. Students from Louder than a Bomb Club helped set up as well. It was important to create the right environment for students because poetry can be extremely personal, especially when sharing their own lyrics. The setup created an environment for students to be good listeners.

“Because poetry can be so personal, it’s important that we are supportive listeners during this process,” said Dooley. “Shout out to Laszlo Katona for being a prolific writer, and constantly creating new poetry to share with the group,” he added.

Judges add the total points earned by all four poets per team, leaving Walter Payton and Von Steuben tied for first place. They competed in the Haiku Death Match resulting in a win for Payton.

“As we say in Louder Than A Bomb, ‘The point is not the point. The point is the poetry’” said Dooley.

The event prepared the poets for the next competition, which will be in February 26 at Columbia College.