Louder than a Bomb: Greg Smith
April 4th, 2012
Omaha, NE – We continue our series on Omahaâ€™s first Louder than a Bomb slam poetry contest today. High school students from across the city will be reading and performing their poetry in a series of competitions kicking off April 15th. We have been profiling a few of those students from different high schools. In the third segment of this four-part series, we visit Greg Smith from Creighton Prep.
â€œLet me introduce myself… Iâ€™m gonna spit these rhymes like Mephistopheles.â€
Greg Smith is 18 years old. Heâ€™s a senior at Creighton Prep and lives in a picture-perfect home in West Omaha. Pulling out a notebook that he decides he doesnâ€™t need, he jettisons the opening line of his poem â€œGreetings.â€ Itâ€™s a reference to a demon featured in the historical Faust legend and literature.
â€œIâ€™d always been writing and reading and doing lots of work with words,â€ he said. â€œAnd in addition to that, I had been listening to hip hop and rap for probably six months consistently and really getting into that and analyzing these songs and lyrics â€¦ that all sort of collided to create this interest in poetry and verse where I wanted to try it myself.â€
Seated next to him on an elegant, modern sofa is Gregâ€™s mother: Annette Smith. â€œI was just blown away really,â€ she said. When Greg first became interested in poetry and performance poetry, otherwise known as â€œslam,â€ he began performing for his family at home. â€œI was amazed by it because it seemed like it just came out of nowhere,â€ Annette said. â€œIt seemed like it came out of nowhere. It was just bottled up in there and ready to bloom, ready to explode.â€
After watching a documentary of the Louder than a Bomb competition in Chicago, Annette Smith began working with organizers to help raise enough money to bring it to Omaha. She said she was inspired by the contestâ€™s ability to provide a window into young peopleâ€™s minds – and give them a platform to express their thoughts and feelings.
â€œWith some of my slam poems, itâ€™s sort of like Iâ€™m standing somewhere and then I have to go sit down and write everything that Iâ€™m thinking right away, sort of like a streamâ€¦ and that all comes at once,â€ Greg said.
â€œI had this one line in my head: Iâ€™m gonna spit these rhymes like Mephistopheles. I had that line in my head for a round two weeks and I was storing it for the right time when I was really feeling artistic and it sort of vomited outâ€¦â€
â€œWords trying to be bigger than bludgeons
Click the safety on my brain and I know Iâ€™m lame to re-use the name from Faustian myths
Iâ€™m just trying to receive those Faustian gifts
Iâ€™m just trying to ride the coldest lifts to peaks perilous and performing pontifications to locations I can only dream of.â€
Greg is applying to colleges this year. He said he hopes to continue writing poetry, while he pursues his more practical goals in his career.
â€œIf things go well, Iâ€™ll probably become a geneticist and write poetry,â€ he said. â€œOr, in a perfect world, I would become a poet full time, and then Poet Laureate of Nebraska, then the United States, then Nobel Prize, all that sort of stuff, but thatâ€™s in a perfect world.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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