A bomb is about to go off in South Florida. Fortunately, it's not the explosive kind, unless you count the sound of several passionate young poets from all across South Florida competing to see who is the best poet among them explosive.
In conjunction with Nova Southeastern University, the Miami Dolphins Foundation and several other sponsors, the Jason Taylor Foundation is proud to present the first ever Louder Than a Bomb Florida Poetry Festival.
From April 8th to April 18th, the Louder Than a Bomb Poetry Festival will take place on the Nova Southeastern University campus, and it's an event that, according to the President of the Jason Taylor Foundation Seth Levit, has been in the planning stages for over a year.
"It was probably about a year and a half ago, somebody told us about the 'Louder Than a Bomb" in Chicago where it was originated," said Levit, "And we watched a documentary about it and we saw that it was so aligned with what our program was about that we said we needed to bring it here."
We were given a sample of what the Festival would be like thanks to a joint performance by two young poets known as Douglas Goodridge, who graduated from Dillard High School last year and now works for the Jason Taylor Foundation as a teaching artist, and Zoharian Williams, who went to Piper High School and was the President of his Poetry Club there. They both expressed what poetry has come to mean to them, and why this event is so important.
"It changed me." said Goodridge, "I got into the Blue Apple Poetry Network my junior year, I didn't really do much in school, and basically what it helped me to do was get out all of those things that I had buried inside and it helped me to become a more social person, I started having friends, started actually living instead of just being alive."
"What inspired me to do poetry was my circumstance," said Williams. "I couldn't just go out and talk to anybody, I didn't have anybody who really understood me, and my thing is, nobody on this earth is really going to understand you, but those who do try, you gotta put some kind of effort towards them. Mr. D and Seth and the foundation, they did try to understand me to the best of their ability. I kinda got here from a personal story of mine, I was in the wrong crowd, doing all the wrong things, and I just needed something to write it down instead of going out and doing those things ... I started writing poetry, and I haven't been the same since."
And this will likely be the story and testimony given by several other young poets who will come to compete throughout the eleven day festival, and the Miami Dolphins are more than happy to be a part of making this event happen in South Florida for the first time.
"We're proud to be a part of this." said Twan Russell, the Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Community Affairs "Anytime we can support one of our esteemed alumni in Jason Taylor and his foundation and all the good things they do in the community we're proud to be a part of that."
A Mic. A Stage. A Pen. A Page. Any one of those things can help an aspiring young artist express themselves in a way that will show the world how important, and how potent, the spoken word truly can be. For the next eleven days, the Nova Southeastern University will be filled with poets of all ages and cultural backgrounds coming to try and "spit lyrics" as the term was used, and make their mark on South Florida in ways that have never been seen before.
For a full schedule to the event, go to http://bluapplepoetry.org/ltab-florida/ to buy tickets or to just see what will be happening the next eleven days. The Festival kicks off tomorrow, and South Florida will hear a bomb go off. A bomb powered by something more powerful than almost anything in the world: the spoken word.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater