The Largest Youth Poetry Festival In The World

Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) is the largest youth poetry festival in the world.

LTAB is an annual event hosting over 1,000 youth poets for a month of Olympic-style poetry bouts, workshops, and special events. Students representing schools and community groups in the Chicago area perform original solo and group poems in a tournament-style competition.

About LTAB
Our Mission

Founded in 2001

Founded in 2001 after the Twin Towers fell, during a time when young people of color in Chicago were being targeted by an anti-gang loitering law which aimed to take away their right to assemble in groups of more than two.

By 2 Chicago-Based Poets

Two Chicago-based poets-Kevin Coval and Anna West-and a group of educators created a space for youth to congregate and express themselves through the writing and performing of spoken word poetry.

From a Handful of Teams

What started with a handful of teams spitting bars in a basement has grown into over 120 teams all over the city and the suburbs competing to packed houses.

To Cities Across America

Now more than 13 cities across the country and Canada use the LTAB Chicago model to educate and organize.

The Documentary

Louder Than a Bomb - Trailer

Directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel, the LOUDER THAN A BOMB documentary follows four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare to compete in LTAB.

LTAB Calendar

View All LTAB Events
LTAB Events
Featured Event
Feb 25

LTAB Prelims

10am-8pm @ Columbia College Chicago (Various locations)

Chicago, IL 60605

LTAB 17 teams (and Individual Poets) compete in Preliminary Bouts. Each Bout consists of four individual rounds and one group round. Preliminary Bouts are held at various times from Wednesdays-Saturdays at Columbia College Chicago. Tickets and group bookings are available.

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Upcoming Event
Mar 1

Queeriosity (Showcase)*

6:30pm-9pm @ Columbia College Chicago

Conaway, 1104 S. Wabash Avenue, 1st Flr, Chicago, IL 60607

A literary arts and performance event that creates a safe space for LBGTQ artists to speak their truths to a supportive audience, featuring poets and performances from the broader YCA and LTAB community.

*Rated R for mature content.

Upcoming Event
Mar 2
Mar 3

LTAB Quarter Finals

5pm-9pm @ Malcolm X College

1900 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612

Quarter Finals features the top 32 high school teams and 24 individual poets in a day-long series of Olympic-style poetry slam bouts. Tickets are available.

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Upcoming Event
Mar 3

LTAB Quarter Finals

5pm-9pm @ Malcolm X College

1900 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612

Quarter Finals features the top 32 high school teams and 24 individual poets in a day-long series of Olympic-style poetry slam bouts. Tickets are available.

Buy Tickets

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