Due to COVID-19 YCA has suspended in-person programming. See our calendar for virtual programs.

Note: for important information on LTAB 2021 please see this Update

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

LTAB is an annual event hosting over 500 youth poets for 5 weeks of Olympic-style poetry bouts, workshops, and special events. Students rep schools and community groups all throughout the Chicago area. They perform original solo and group poems in a tournament-style competition. Louder Than A Bomb is currently hosted in over 13 other cities across the U.S. by partner organizations.

We are celebrating the festival’s 21st year virtually February - April 2021. This year’s theme is: Rooted & Radical. We are encouraging poets to look back, in order to move forward with a clear picture of the future that they collectively plan to create. All poetry in the festival will be showcased via pre-recorded videos submitted by the poets.

The window to register for LTAB 2021 opens on Friday, 2/5, and closes on Friday, 2/26. Coaches and Sponsors, please visit the Registration page any time during the registration window in order to complete the sign-up process for your team and/or indy poet(s). There is no registration fee this year. Further details and preliminary schedule:

About LTAB 2021
Our Misson

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.


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.


View All LTAB Events

LTAB Events


Register Your Team for LTAB 2021