Zoomlighting: A Queer Online Poetry Cypher for April 5, 2020

This reading is part of our LGBTQIA+ series, Moonlighting. This month’s event is scheduled for Sunday, April 5, and will take place online via Zoom (free to download). This event will not feature a headliner; instead, the show offers an open cypher for poets looking to share. For information about how to join the online meeting, please see our Facebook event.

This reading is free of charge; listeners interested in contributing to the operating budget of the Boston Poetry Slam may donate via CashApp at $BostonPoetrySlam. Listeners are reminded that poetry may contain some strong language, adult themes, and unfiltered ideas; we ask our open mic participants to provide trigger warnings when appropriate, and to remember to be kind and respectful of a diverse listening experience. This event is curated and managed by Myles Taylor and Ilyus Evander.

For information about how to join the online meeting, please see our Facebook event. For more information about the history of the monthly series, click here.

POSTPONED for Wednesday, April 1, 2020: William Evans

In accordance with public health concerns, this show has been CANCELLED. We will work to reschedule the featured artist at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, we encourage you to buy the poet’s book directly from the publisher: We Inherit What the Fires Left on Simon & Schuster. You can also visit the Simon & Schuster Instagram to join a weekly workshop with Will every Wednesday in April starting at noon EST.


Black Nerd Problems co-founder and Simon & Schuster author William Evans. Photo courtesy of the author.

Black Nerd Problems co-founder and Simon & Schuster author William Evans. Photo courtesy of the author.

William Evans is an author, speaker, & instructor from Columbus, Ohio. In addition to founding the Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam in Columbus, William is also the co-founder & editor-in chief of Black Nerd Problems, a website focused on pop culture & diversity. He is the author of We Inherit What the Fires Left, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in spring 2020. Evans has been an artist in residence for both the Columbus Wexner Center and Columbus City Schools since 2012.

Evans belongs to fellowships from Callaloo & the Watering Hole Poetry. He is the poetry recipient of 2016 Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant & the 2018 Spirit of Columbus Foundation Grant. He is the author of the poetry collection, Still Can’t Do My Daughter’s Hair, released on Button Poetry in October of 2017. Visit him on Twitter @willevanswrites or Instagram @willtotha.

POSTPONED for Wednesday, March 25, 2020: Bradley Trumpfheller

In accordance with public health concerns, this show has been CANCELLED. We will work to reschedule the featured artist at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, we encourage you to buy the poet’s book directly from the publisher: Reconstructions on Sibling Rivalry Press.


Divedapper co-editor Bradley Trumpfheller. Photo by Alex Winze.

Divedapper co-editor Bradley Trumpfheller. Photo by Alex Winze.

Bradley Trumpfheller (they/them) is the author of Reconstructions (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020). Born in Japan and raised across the South, their work has appeared in Poetry, The Nation, jubilat, The Shallow Ends, Muzzle, and elsewhere. A MacDowell Fellow, they co-edit the website Divedapper, and currently live in Somerville.

POSTPONED for Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Lip Manegio

In accordance with public health concerns, this show has been CANCELLED. We will work to reschedule the featured artist at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, we encourage you to buy the poet’s book directly from the publisher: We’ve All Seen Helena on Game Over Books.


Game Over author and EPP co-President Lip Manegio. Photo by Jerry Cardona.

Game Over author and EPP co-President Lip Manegio. Photo by Jerry Cardona.

Lip Manegio (they/them) is a Pushcart nominated writer, organizer, & cryptid who is learning to be unapologetically in love with life. They are currently pursuing a BFA in creative writing with a minor in art history at Emerson College, where they also serve as co-president of the Emerson Poetry Project.

They represented Emerson at CUPSI 2018 & 2019, have appeared on finals stages at FEMS & Capturing Fire, and were on the winning team at Vox Pop 2018. Their work has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Puerto del Sol, tenderness lit, Gordon Square Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. Their debut chapbook, We’ve All Seen Helena, a collection of poems about queerness, survival, & My Chemical Romance, is available now from Game Over Books.

Public Health Update for March 16, 2020: Shows Postponed Through April 1

Poets, listeners, once and future Cantabbers: you will be unsurprised to hear that our March 18, March 25, and April 1 shows have been CANCELLED. We will work to reschedule our features at the earliest most appropriate opportunity. In the meantime, we hope you will support our postponed features with purchases direct from their presses:

We recognize that our space provides valuable social and financial support to developing and working artists; we’ve done so for almost three decades, and we intend to continue. However, for the duration of the Cantab Lounge’s mandated closure of service, and until further notice, we will prioritize our poets’ physical safety and adhere to city and state recommendations to cancel gatherings.

We encourage you to protect and support not only yourself and your loved ones, but also the most vulnerable segments of our population, which you surely already realize includes many of the artists and listeners we welcome to our space regularly –some of whom are at both medical and financial risk in the current crisis. If you have enjoyed building our community for a few hours on Wednesdays, we hope you will continue to seek and lend support to those who have built it with you.

We’ll be using our Facebook page to offer you the chance to financially support our postponed features, as well as share resources for working artists and signal boost for local poets whose tours have been cancelled. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Boston Poetry Slam Public Health Update: March 12, 2020

And now, the poetic content you’ve been waiting for: the Boston Poetry Slam would like to acknowledge and address the current public health events surrounding coronavirus/COVID-19 in the Cambridge and surrounding areas.

As of noon on Thursday, March 12, the Boston Poetry Slam is currently running as usual: we hold a weekly Wednesday show at the Cantab and a monthly Moonlighting show on first Sundays at the Democracy Center. If public health conditions or recommendations necessitate cancellation or postponement, we will post notification here on bostonpoetryslam.com and on our Facebook page and events (note that our tumblr may not be as up-to-date).

We recognize that best practices for containment of illness do not include gathering in our 100-seat venues. We also recognize that we are a space that provides social support in a time of elevated anxiety, familiar physical space for people unhomed by rapidly evolving local health policies, and financial stability to working artists. In balancing these concerns, we will operate as scheduled as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so, and only as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so. Please be assured that all of our features, staff, and support personnel attend of their own personal volition and none are contractually or socially obligated to appear at the space as scheduled. We do not currently have plans or resources to livestream events, but will hear technical proposals via email.


For folks who would like to join us at our shows, we make the following recommendations:

  • Please do not attend our events if you have a fever or cough, or have been exposed to respiratory droplets from someone with these symptoms in the past two weeks.
  • Your fragrance-free hand sanitizer and your properly fitted mask are welcome in our spaces.
  • As always, remember to respect personal space and practice good hand hygiene.

For more information about our spaces, please see the detailed accessibility pages for our Wednesday weekly show and Moonlighting.


For folks who cannot attend, but would like to support our upcoming features, we offer direct links to product from these really excellent poets:


And for more information, we recommend the following resources:


If you have further questions about our venue spaces, upcoming events, policies, or how to support our artists, please feel free to email simone@bostonpoetryslam.com.

With poetry and clean hands,
Simone Beaubien, Curator

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cantabbers! Elbow bumps and hygienic waves to everyone who came out last night for a warm and supportive night. A half-dozen early birds perched expectantly on chairs for torrin a. greathouse to workshop the unreliable narrator: and boy-o, did she come through with a wonderful series of prompts and guidelines. This poet was only in town for one special night, but if you loved her workshop and/or spot on the open mic, please check out her website for product and more info.

After a friendly open mic marked with talented newcomers and blossoming regulars, Adam Falkner got down to business featuring. This long-time slammer with remarkable academic cred brought a confident and crafted set to the stage, settling our rowdy pre-slam crowd into a deep-listening mood. Adam’s got gigs at Slam Free or Die tonight and Porter Square books in the next two days; if you can’t make those, maybe you wanna take a peek at his website to purchase his new book, The Willies (Button Poetry).

And, lastly, the grand end to a grand night: our four-poet slam was comprised of steely-eyed regulars, all out hunting a berth at the 2020 Team Slam Preliminaries. Taking the big win was returning heavy hitter Bobby Crawford, trailed by just a few tenths by fellow qualifier and rising star Mugs Myers. What an awesome night!

Next week: our scheduled feature is Lip Manegio, touring behind new release We’ve All Seen Helena (Game Over Books), followed by an open slam. Hope to see your healthy faces there!

Tips from the Bar: The Ariel Baker-Gibbs Prompt

Describe the worst meal you’ve ever had made from a recipe that seemed extremely promising.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, March 11, 2020: Adam Falkner

Dialogue Arts Project founder and Button Poetry author Adam Falkner. Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Dialogue Arts Project founder and Button Poetry author Adam Falkner. Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Dr. Adam Falkner is a poet, educator and arts & culture strategist. He is the author of Adoption (winner of the 2017 Diode Editions Chapbook Award) and The Willies (Button Poetry, 2020), and his work has appeared in a range of print and media spaces including on programming for HBO, NBC, NPR, BET, in the New York Times, and elsewhere. A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Adam is the Founder and Executive Director of the pioneering diversity consulting initiative, the Dialogue Arts Project, in which capacity he develops and facilitates trainings for schools, companies and cultural institutions across the nation. Adam has toured the United States as a guest artist, lecturer and consultant for thousands of students, educators and corporate employees, and was the featured performer at President Obama’s Grassroots Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Education from Columbia University.

Tonight’s event will be preceded by an early-bird workshop on memory and the unreliable speaker led by visiting poet torrin a. greathouse. Click here to learn more about this generative poetry workshop.

An open poetry slam is scheduled for the late-night portion of this show, following the feature. The slam will be speed slam format: eight open sign-ups will be available starting at door time, and poets will slam head-to-head in up to three rounds with time limits of 3, 2, and 1 minute. Winner and runner-up qualify for the 2020 Team Selection series. To volunteer to judge in exchange for free admission to the show, or to ask questions about the slam, email the slam curator at slamseries@bostonpoetryslam.com.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, with one flight of stairs to access the basement room (click for directions and accessibility information). Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00, with the poetry slam to follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Workshop for Wednesday, March 11, 2020 with torrin a. greathouse

Arrive in advance of tonight’s event for an early-bird workshop at the Cantab Lounge before the show. The one-hour workshop has limited space and begins at 5:30, with latecomers admitted no later than 6:00. This is a generative workshop that is open to anyone all levels of writers and performers who wish to contribute to the night’s feeling of community.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP LEADER
torrin a. greathouse is a transgender cripple-punk & MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of boy/girl/ghost (TAR Chapbook Series, 2018) & assistant editor of The Shallow Ends. Their work is published/forthcoming in POETRY, Ploughshares, & The Kenyon Review. She was a finalist for the 2020 Pushcart Prize, & is the youngest ever winner of the Poetry Foundation’s J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize.

DESCRIPTION FROM THE WORKSHOP LEADER
Memory is not linear, but fragmentary and recursive. Our recollection is full of gaps and mistakes. In this workshop we will be reading poems that to embody this process of dis(re)membering the past. Then, using the techniques we discuss, we will write and share our work.

Cover charge is $5-$20 sliding scale, which includes admission to the evening show. We ask financially stable poets to consider contributing the higher end of this scale (or more) in order to defer costs for others and support this teaching artist’s generous donation of time to our space.

Due to the constraints of the venue, our workshop have limited space; room can be guaranteed to poets who identify as POC or queer. The best way to secure a spot in the workshop is to send an email.

The venue is 18+ and a photo ID is required. For more information on the night’s open mic and featured poet, Adam Falkner, click here.