Fest screens poetry documentary

Apr 10, 2014
Participants in a Chicago-area high school poetry slam present "Counting Graves" in the documentary "Louder Than a Bomb."

Belfast — “Louder than a Bomb,” the pounding, searing, award-winning documentary following high school poetry slam teams in Chicago as they rehearse, hope, fight, perform, win and lose, will be screened one-night-only at the Colonial Theatre as a fundraising party for the upcoming 10th annual Belfast Poetry Festival.

The screening, part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration, is set for Monday evening, April 21. Admission is $10 for adults, while high school and college students are admitted free. A reception, with refreshments and a cash bar, will start at 6:30 p.m. and the screening will start at 7 p.m. at the Colonial, 163 High St.

The 10th festival will be an expanded event in many ways, and the “Louder than a Bomb” screening is intended also as an outreach to high school and college students, to invite them into the sphere of creativity and celebration that is the festival. As past Belfast Poet Laureate Jacob Fricke quipped, the fest is looking to countermand the "graying of the arts."

There is nothing “gray” about this film. Every year, more than 600 teenagers from more than 60 Chicago-area schools gather for the world’s largest youth poetry slam, a competition known as Louder Than a Bomb. The poetry depicted in this documentary is not "high school poetry" as one often thinks of it, but language as a joyful release, wielded by irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance. The film chronicles the stereotype-confounding stories of four teams as they prepare for and compete in the 2008 event. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the 2010 film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable young people, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa.

The Belfast Poetry Festival, which this year will take place Oct. 17 and 18, is one of the only community-based, non-academic poetry festivals in the country. The festival will achieve 10 continuous years of presenting art and poetry collaborations from all over Northern New England. In addition to the popular multimedia poetry and visual art presentation of past years, this year's festival will have a poetry, music and performance art night, an expanded workshop program and more.

The “Louder Than a Bomb” screening hopes to raise money to bring one of the performers from the film to the festival for a workshop and a performance; to expand the workshops offered by the festival; and to cover additional costs of a second night of mixed media presentations. It is the festival's intention for the evening concert presentations to always remain free events. For more information, visit belfastpoetry.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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