Saturday, April 13, six teams across Mid-Missouri competed at Stephens College in the semi-finals of the Louder Than A Bomb poetry slam competition. Louder Than A Bomb is a community-initiated event that RBHS participates in, along with four other high schools, reading specialist Daryl Moss said. Jabberwocky studios, a non-profit organization teaching arts, also takes part in the event. The Mid-Missouri chapter includes seven high school teams from Columbia, Jefferson City and Mexico.
“My role is to essentially encourage poets to keep writing,” Moss said. “I try to bring ideas and prompts for writers needing inspiration, and I provide feedback on their writing as well as their performances. I hope they think of my room as a safe space where they can take risks in their writing and explore issues close to their head and their hearts.”
Junior Logan Banker is one member of the Mid-Missouri chapter. At the semi-finals, she performed a piece titled “To Future High Schoolers.” Lately, she said she has been focusing on more uplifting poems with a call to action.
“It’s set in 2060,” Banker said, “and I’m calling on high schoolers [that] may read my poem in class someday to bring out the poetry voice in them to be heard and change people.”
Overall, Banker said the performance went well. The semi-finals competition requires poems to be memorized, or else competitors are deducted a point from their score.
“I had mine fully memorized, and I’m glad I didn’t mess up,” Banker said. “The hardest part about semi-finals is being memorized. All the scores given out usually range from 8.5 to 10, meaning there is not a lot of room for a team to lose a whole point because someone couldn’t memorize their poem. Two teams yesterday had one person each that didn’t memorize poems, and neither of them made finals.”
When Banker works on memorization, she said she focused on parts that don’t rhyme because on those, she has to formulate a comfortable pace. Banker said she finds it easier to recite rhymes than alliterations or other literary devices.
Along with Banker, junior Maddie Renner also performed a piece. She recited “Reflecting,” which is about addressing insecurities and asking herself why she have them despite spending her entire life being taught to love herself.
“The performance didn’t go too badly for what I was expecting,” Renner said. “My poem was incredibly last minute, so I had written and tried to memorize it the night before. And I forgot a couple lines in the middle of the performance, but in less than 24 hours I did a pretty good job, so I’m proud of myself for that.”
For scoring, Moss said there are five judges present. The scorekeeper records the five scores from the five judges for each performance.
“Then the scorekeeper will drop the highest and lowest score from each performance and then add the three middle scores of each performance to accumulate the total team score at the end of the competition,” Moss said. “The advancing teams will have the highest overall team scores.”
The RBHS team did make finals, so contestants will be performing again Saturday, April 20 from 2-4 p.m. Banker said one of the co-founders of Louder Than A Bomb will be there watching.
“We’re on the Unbound Book Festival schedule, which is super exciting to me,” Banker said. “We’d love to see you come out and listen.”
Did you compete at the Louder Than A Bomb poetry slam competition? Let us know in the comments below!