Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Gabe Montesanti Contributor
On Sept. 18, 15 Kalamazoo College students gathered to watch the challenges four high school teams endured to get to this competition during a viewing of the documentary named after the slam. The event was sponsored by the Kalamazoo Poetry Collective and the Office of Student Involvement.
The contest entailed a rigorous four-day competition period prefaced by months of hard work. Each team competed in a series of “bouts” that took place over five rounds. According to the official rules, “The first four rounds are individual rounds. The fifth is a group piece. All poems must be original work of the poets performing them.”
Bridgett Colling K’13, co-director of KPC, explained that they chose to show Louder than a Bomb because, “We wanted something energetic and inspiring. We thought that having it before open mic night [which took place Sept. 22] would build some enthusiasm.”
Colling also admits the choice was personal.
“I have loved slam poetry for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I think it’s a fantastic art form. Whenever I experience slam poetry, I think it’s the best thing anyone has ever done.”
Many of the students highlighted in the documentary battled hardships that were later reflected in their poems. One student, Nova Venerable from Oak Park/River Forest High School, grew up caring for her autistic brother and floored the audience with a touching piece dedicated especially to him.
“My life just seemed to kind of fit when I started writing,” Venerable explained in the film.
Adam Gottlieb, one of the highlighted participants in Louder Than A Bomb, also found a refuge in writing. He acknowledged that “Writing a poem does not change the world. Learning about new people and understanding new people and being inspired by people who are different than you… I’d like to imagine that’s changing the world.”
KPC director of outreach Allison Kennedy K’15 said Louder than a Bomb has impacted her own writing.
“It’s really moving because it’s all personal narratives, which gives it so much more pound,” Kennedy said. “I have friends, I fell in love. For me, it’s about reflection. You become a better listener. When you go to poetry events, you realize you’re not really listening most of the time… and that’s a problem.”