Louder than a Bomb: Itahi Sanchez
April 11th, 2012
Omaha, NE â€“ Itâ€™s time for the final segment in our series on Omahaâ€™s first Louder than a Bomb slam poetry contest. 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. Today, we visit Itahi Sanchez from Lincoln High.
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Itahi Sanchez, 16, steps up to the front of her class.
â€œThereâ€™s a hive of termites laying eggs in my intestines, carving tunnels through my guts, avoiding landmines…â€
The Lincoln High student recites her poem, describing the feeling of worms crawling through her body, as she sniffs turpentine fumes. The piece will be performed later this month at Omahaâ€™s Louder than a Bomb youth slam poetry festival.
Reading her poem in the hyped-performance â€œslamâ€ style, Sanchez is a dynamic and powerful presence. But when the momentâ€™s over, she steps away lightly, transforming back into a quiet, unassuming teen.
Dig a little deeper into what drives her, and Sanchez reveals a charming enthusiasm for life. Recalling an experiment using fungi collected from a rainforest, under the guidance of a professor at Wesleyan University, Sanchez said the experience was â€œamazing.â€
â€œItâ€™s a simple organism,â€ she said. â€œBut through the years, you forget because itâ€™s so simple that itâ€™s spent just as long a time evolving as this incredible human being. So it has its own absolute sophistication in like chemicals and stuff and symbiotic relationships to the point that itâ€™s like, itâ€™s incredible.â€
â€œIâ€™m amazed by the diversity of life,â€ she said with a light laugh.
Sanchez began her interest in slam poetry in an advanced creative writing class last year. She grew up in a large family, with six brothers and sisters. And she said her father is wholeheartedly behind her when it comes to writing, and anything she sets her mind too. Her mother passed away when she was five years old, and Sanchez said she is her inspiration.
â€œFrom what I remember and what Iâ€™m told, she was an incredibly creative woman,â€ Sanchez said. â€œShe helped us through financial troubles by sewing and gardening and â€¦ different crafts.â€ Sanchez said she did the work for her family, but also â€œjust for a love for doing creative things.â€
â€œSo I think thatâ€™s very inspiring.â€
Omaha can hear Sanchez perform her poetry when the citywide Louder than a Bomb competition kicks off April 15th.
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