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KEVIN COVAL, 36
Poet and cofounder of the teen poetry festival Louder Than a Bomb // Lives in Albany Park
In 2008, the then-unattached Coval was dedicating himself to helping youth understand the power of their everyday stories. Since then—and aside from settling into an apartment with his girlfriend of two years—he has started a publishing company and written a book; he also expanded Louder Than a Bomb to Tulsa and oversaw production of its namesake documentary, airing on OWN this fall.
You’ve accomplished a lot in three years. “It’s a constant dedication to the craft, the continued commitment to waking up and doing the work. My mission is still the same: to tell stories from the lives of young people and counter the dominant narratives.”
Why Tulsa? “Tulsa has a horrible history of racial terror and is radically segregated like Chicago, so we knew the model from here could work.”
Films, books, and festivals—are you building an empire? “They say poetry doesn’t sell. My students and I know that’s not true. This is about creating new literature for a new readership and determining the necessity for it. There are a lot more poems forthcoming.” —S.M.S.
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Photograph: (magazine spread) Megan Lovejoy