Youthful poets to battle this weekend in Detroit

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer
The winning team from the 2017 Louder Than a Bomb poetry festival. This year's competition happens Saturday and Sunday.

The fourth-annual Louder Than a Bomb: The Michigan Youth Poetry Festival will rock Midtown Detroit both Saturday and Sunday with poetry bouts and a Grand Slam competition free and open to the public. 

The event, which draws up to 100 aspiring poets and rappers, is sponsored by InsideOut Literary Arts, a Detroit nonprofit that uses creative writing to help youngsters stretch and find their authentic voice. 

Said Executive Director Suma Karaman Rosen, "We inspire students to think broadly, create bravely and share their voices with the wider world."

Spurring creativity and getting kids into writing is obviously the main thing, but the festival is also an opportunity to bring together like-minded, literary students from all over southern Michigan.

"We'll have kids coming from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and the Detroit area," she said, "all intermingling and sharing their personal work. There’s a beautiful process of getting to know the other – often peers they wouldn’t otherwise have any interaction with."

The weekend's events, which will take place on the Wayne State campus Saturday and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Sunday, also include community-building exercises and writing workshops. 

Saturday's Poetry Bout, or competition, will run from 2:30 p.m - 7 p.m. at the WSU Student Center. The MC Olympics, with its hip-hop artists, kicks off at 8 p.m. at the university's Manoogian Hall. 

The Grand Slam competition between various teams will start Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at MOCAD, complete with a closing ceremony and youth resource fair. 

While all proceedings are free, organizers encourage visitors a $5 donation to further the cause of literary activism in the coming generation. 

(313) 222-6021

Twitter: @mhodgesartguy


Louder Than a Bomb: The Michigan Youth Poetry Festival


2:30 p.m. - LTAB Slam Poetry Bouts 

Wayne State University Student Center, Detroit 

8 p.m. - MC Olympics

WSU Manoogian Hall 


1:30 p.m. - Grand Slam

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward, Detroit