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Spoken word, heard loudly

Bringing a city and its youth together

by Di Dinnis and Robyn Murray Author Image 1

Louder Than a Bomb, a teen spoken word poetry competition in Chicago, transcends cultural barriers and brings teens from all over Chicago together when they otherwise would not have met. More than 900 poets from 100 schools participate in the event, which concludes on Saturday.

Feeling alone at home and at school, poetry brings kinship

by Robyn Murray and Di Dinnis

Is she high maintenance because she attends St. Ignatius College Prep? Does she belong in the prestigious school because she’s from Uptown, and she’s black? These are some of the prejudices and misconceptions Diana Sarfo tries to break through. Her tool? Poetry.

Living in constant chaos on Chicago's South Side, teens try to manage through poetry

by Robyn Murray and Di Dinnis

A couple years ago, Christina Fedrick would have been front and center in the almost-daily brawls at Julian High School. But joining the poetry team at this South Side school has helped Fedrick, 16, manage some of the stresses in her life without turning to violence. “Instead of picking up a weapon, I pick up a pen and paper,” she says.

Poetry as a bridge between gay teen and her mother

by Di Dinnis and Robyn Murray Author Image 1

Essie Linzy says poetry helped her mom understand that she is gay. Linzy brings people to poetry events because it's a welcoming community and she herself has learned to be more open and accepting of others. She came in second place in the Louder Than a Bomb individuals finals last year and is now mentoring other poets.