Louder than a Bomb: Itahi Sanchez


April 11th, 2012

Omaha, NE – It’s time for the final segment in our series on Omaha’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.

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Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Itahi Sanchez, 16, steps up to the front of her class.

Itahi Sanchez, 16, performs her poem before her peers at Lincoln High. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

“There’s a hive of termites laying eggs in my intestines, carving tunnels through my guts, avoiding landmines…”

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 Omaha’s Louder than a Bomb youth slam poetry festival.

Reading her poem in the hyped-performance “slam” style, Sanchez is a dynamic and powerful presence. But when the moment’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 “amazing.”

“It’s a simple organism,” she said. “But through the years, you forget because it’s so simple that it’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 it’s like, it’s incredible.”

“I’m amazed by the diversity of life,” she said with a light laugh.

Students from Lincoln High's slam poetry team listen as each poet steps up to perform his or her poem. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

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.

“From what I remember and what I’m told, she was an incredibly creative woman,” Sanchez said. “She helped us through financial troubles by sewing and gardening and … different crafts.” Sanchez said she did the work for her family, but also “just for a love for doing creative things.”

“So I think that’s very inspiring.”

Omaha can hear Sanchez perform her poetry when the citywide Louder than a Bomb competition kicks off April 15th.

Gearing up for Louder than a Bomb

Louder than a Bomb: Duchesne’s Gina Keplinger

Louder than a Bomb: South High’s Marissa Gomez

Louder than a Bomb: Creighton Prep’s Greg Smith

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