Louder than a Bomb: Duchesne’s Gina Keplinger
March 21st, 2012
Omaha, NE – High school students from across the city will be reading and performing their poetry in a series of competitions kicking off April 15th. KVNO News will be profiling a few of those students from different high schools. This is the first segment in our four-part Louder than a Bomb series.
On the last official day of winter at the OM center in downtown Omaha, dozens of people gathered for the Encyclopedia Show. Itâ€™s a variety show, featuring poets, writers and performers.
â€œYou get up in front of a room full of strangers and you share your secrets,â€ said Gina Keplinger, a 17-year old junior at Duchesne Academy, who was getting ready to perform in the show. Prior to sound check, Keplinger shared one of her secrets in her piece: â€œThis is Not a Love Poem.â€
Listen Now to hear Keplinger’s poem in full[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Poem-Full-WEB.mp3]
Over the past six months, Keplinger said sheâ€™s been working on her writing by taking on different personas, and writing from different perspectives. She said writing acts as therapy for her.
â€œIâ€™ve really pushed myself to live by the phrase ‘tell the truth’, she said. “Donâ€™t over exaggerate, donâ€™t under exaggerate, tell people what happened, and tell your story.”
â€œI think thatâ€™s really importantâ€¦good or bad, happy or sad my story is out there,â€ she said.
Keplinger is a participant and student organizer for Louder than a Bomb: a youth poetry slam competition in Omaha. Slam is a style of performance poetry where poets are scored by judges in the audience.
â€œThereâ€™s a phrase thatâ€™s in the slam community. The point is not the points. The point is the poetry. For me, the point is the poetry, and also for me, the point is the people,â€ Keplinger said.
â€œI think building community is really important in this, and meeting people, growing as an artist, growing as poet, thatâ€™s what matters for me,â€ she said.
Read more about slam poetry and Louder than a Bomb here: an interview with the founder of Nebraska Writer’s Collective, Matt Mason
â€œSo, whether or not I get high scores in a slam, itâ€™s about: I read what I needed to read to be able to get something off my chest, whether itâ€™s a letter to my ex, a letter to my dad or something I really wanted to tell my sister for a really long time,â€ she said.
Keplinger said sheâ€™s watched the documentary Louder than a Bomb three times and said sheâ€™s met Lamar â€œThe Truthâ€ Jordan, one of the students followed in the film, which documents the original contest in Chicago.
â€œItâ€™s amazing for me to have seen this film on the big screen and gone wow these kids are great, but this is never going to happen for me,â€ Keplinger said.
“Then six months later, to say ‘hey Iâ€™m a part of this.’ My home town, and not only am I a part of it, but Iâ€™m participating and starting this team and leading this team and hopefully Iâ€™m going to lead them someplace pretty far in the competition,â€ she said with a laugh.
â€œI donâ€™t know if weâ€™re going to win, but weâ€™re certainly going to try.â€
Louder than a Bomb kicks off April 15th. For a full schedule and more information about the event, click here.
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