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FIFTH ANNUAL STATEWIDE TEEN POETRY CHAMPIONS TO BE CROWNED ON FRIDAY, MAY 6TH
“Louder Than a Bomb Massachusetts” Team Finals at Dorchester’s Strand Theater
Boston, MA, Friday, May 2nd, 2016– It’s official: these teen poets are the best in the state. And this Friday, they’re looking to clinch the title when Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance (MassLEAP) crowns the fifth annual state youth poetry champion at the Louder Than A Bomb Massachusetts Youth Poetry Slam (LTAB) Team Finals this Friday, May 6th, at the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester. Tickets are free for youth groups, $10 general admission, and are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2520043.
After four tournament-style rounds of competition bringing together 300 youth poets from 40 communities across the state, Friday’s finalist teams are: Codman Academy, representing Dorchester; FreeVerse!, representing Lowell; KIPP Academy Lynn, representing Lynn; and Urban Science Academy, representing West Roxbury. “There is nothing more beautiful than when teams come together and love like this” says Sarah Masse, FreeVerse! youth participant.
At the month long festival, which originated in Chicago in 2001 and has since spread across the country, teens perform original works of poetry and judges score each piece on a scale from one to ten as teams advance through the tournament. But the organizers emphasize the spirit of camaraderie over competition—as exemplified by the festival’s motto, “the points are not the point, the point is the poetry.” To that end, Friday’s finals event will showcase standout poems and teams from the entire tournament in addition to the four finalists.
Said Kofi Dadzie, an individual finalist in this year’s competition and a junior at Westborough High School: “LTAB is where anyone’s message can be heard, supported, and understood. It’s something liberating for me.” Amanda Torres, MassLEAP co-founder and Artistic Director says “We are hoping to not only connect youth poets, but also share this art form with the greater Boston, and Massachusetts, community” She continues, “where else do we have a chance to hear the pulse of what is important to our young people? LTAB provides an opportunity for their voices to be heard and, perhaps more importantly, for us to listen.”
The event is sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and is an ArtWeek Boston event. Said Mass LEAP co-founder Alex Charalambides: “We’re incredibly excited to continue our relationship with the Boston Cultural Council and to connect more directly with the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture. We hope Mayor Walsh will be able to attend the event at the historic Strand Theater and hear these amazing young voices.”
For the first time ever, this year’s LTAB festival included an indy finals round on Friday, April 29th where the top ten scoring poets competed to win an individual spot on the MassLEAP team representing Massachusetts at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam and Festival in Washington, D.C. this summer. The winning poets are: Agnes Ugoji, of Roxbury, the 2016 state individual champion; Chinma Okananwa, of Peabody; Temitope Sholola, of Lynn; Kofi Dadzie, of Westborough; and Michelle Garcia, of Lynn. Temitope Sholola and Michelle Garcia will also be competing in the team finals on Friday as members of the KIPP Academy Lynn team. These youth will also be showcased at LTAB Team Finals.
MassLEAP is a Boston-based collective of poets and educators dedicated to providing a platform for positive youth development through performance poetry. The organization coordinates artist residencies, professional development opportunities and events to build relationships in communities throughout Massachusetts. For more information, visit http://www.massleap.org.
For the second year in a row, LTAB is funded in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency, and supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
Amanda Torres, Artistic Director | firstname.lastname@example.org | (773) 316-0522
Alex Charalambides, Managing Director | email@example.com | (508) 450-6952
Congratulations again to Agnes from the 826 Writers’ Room for being crowned the individual 2016 State Slam Poetry Champion! Catch her in DC representing Massachusetts at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam and Festival in Washington, D.C. this summer!