HISTORY

Louder Than a Bomb: The Michigan Youth Poetry Festival is modeled after the flagship festival from MacArthur award-winning partners, Young Chicago Authors. Chicago’s highly successful model has become the largest youth poetry festival in the world. Founded in 2001, the event attracts 1,000+ participants from 120+ schools in over 100 different Chicagoland zip codes.

The experience of Chicago’s LTAB was captured beautifully in Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs’ 2010 award-winning full-length documentary, Louder Than a Bomb. The movie screened at film festivals around the country eventually traveling abroad, exposing tens of thousands of people to the festival’s work. It was not long before youth and cultural organizations around the world were in conversation with YCA, asking for help creating LTAB festivals in their own cities.

In 2012, InsideOut Literary Arts Project and The Neutral Zone produced Michigan’s first annual LTAB event in Ann Arbor with support from Ann Arbor State Bank and the University of Michigan Library System. Organizers recognized that the landscape of youth poetry in Michigan was robust yet fragmented across the state, which led to the development of the LTAB model’s first statewide program.

In 2015, the festival migrated to Detroit after receiving a two-year Knight Arts Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This financial support also opened significant pathways for team expansion and overall growth of the festival. Additional support from Wayne State University, McGregor Fund, Dresner Foundation, MGM Grand, and community partners like Hostel Detroit, Assemble Sound, Detroit Institute of Bagels, and Third Man Records allowed for LTAB to further fulfill its mission.

In 2018, LTAB will welcome over 16 competing teams and nearly a dozen non-competing teams of high school writers – the largest capacity yet! Learn more about this year’s schedule of events, here.

Are you interested in helping us continue to increase the reach and impact of this important work? Visit our Sponsor page, here.

Past Team Champions:

2013 – Citywide Poets, Detroit

2014 – Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor

2015 – Washtenaw International High School, Ypsilanti

2016 – Troy Public Library, Troy

2017 – Detroit Youth Poetry Slam Team, Detroit