Slam Prelims is ON for tonight, January 28, 2015!

Happy Snowmageddon 2015, everyone! With the blizzard now over and the Cantab Lounge open, we are pleased to announce that the first heat of the Boston Poetry Slam will take place as scheduled tonight. Click here to remind yourself of the awesome all-star list of slammers participating.

Some tips on traveling to the Cantab tonight:

  • UPDATE: The Cambridge parking ban (and snow emergency) will be lifted at 4:00 p.m. today.
    As of 11:30 a.m. today, a snow emergency parking ban is still in effect for Cambridge. The City of Cambridge has stated they will re-evaluate the ban at “midday” today; click the preceding link for up-to-date info, or watch this space for details. (In the meantime, that means no parking on Mass Ave.)
  • The MBTA is running normal hours and all routes are open today.
  • Plan to leave early! Everything takes longer in the snow, and the longer you wait to leave, the more time your roommate has to remind you that you only did 3/7th of the shoveling. If you arrive to see us before 7:15 door time, you can always grab dinner in Central and bring it in to enjoy with a drink from the bar.

As long as you feel safe traveling tonight, we would love to see you at the very first slam of our 2015 Team Selection season. Come visit for the 8:00 open mic and stay for the 9:30 slam! And remember that the cover is $5 tonight, because shipping the 2015 team to Oakland, California for the National Poetry Slam in August is starting to sound like a bigger and better prize than ever.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 28, 2015: Team Selection Preliminaries (First Heat)

The Cantab’s Team Selection Slams have always been the venue’s biggest, wildest poetry slams of the season. For 2015, for the first time, the venue will split the rowdy preliminary slam into two separate sessions, with the January event being the first prelim pool of two. The following poets will compete tonight (order TBD):

  • Marshall Gillson
  • Austin Hendricks
  • Meaghan Ford
  • Sophia Holtz
  • Mckendy Fils-Aimé
  • Nathan Comstock
  • Ellyn Touchette
  • Bobby Crawford
  • Sacrifices: Janae Johnson, Adam Stone

The top six poets after two rounds will meet the top poets from the second heat at the Semi-Finals on Wednesday, February 18.

Team Selection Slams are a three-session affair for Cantab poets, with the top five poets after seven rounds comprising the venue’s National Poetry Slam Team. The 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team will travel to the National Poetry Slam, once again across the mainland in sunny Oakland, California.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. A SHORTENED open mic begins at 8:00 and the slam begins at approximately 9:30. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5; proceeds will go toward funding the National Poetry Slam in August.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slam legend Jason Carney was in the house last night, showing off his classic slam-era chops and a few tricks he learned in his MFA program to boot! A consummate performer, Jason brought us family stories, wild trips through nightmare and dream, and a compelling call to action. You can take a peek at his fascinating memoir, Starve the Vulture, at his publisher’s page here.

The Last Chance slam closed the night, and it was certainly a doozy: not just one, but TWO ties raised the stakes in the first round of play! The finals came down to veteran local Colin Killick and first-time slammer (and second time Cantab reader) JR Mahung. With raucous audience response for both, the judges had a tough decision to make… Colin sealed the win with an off-page, off mic performance and took home the $10. Colin also wins a spot in our February 4 slam team selection prelim!

Next week: TEAM SELECTION SLAMS BEGIN (you know it’s important when caps lock gets involved). Wednesday, January 28 will be the first of two preliminary heats to narrow the field for the 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team! Remember: our open mic will be a little shorter, the feature is the awesomely all-star 8-person slam, and we’ll be looking for judges ASAP. Cover charge is $5 tonight to help raise money to send the team to Oakland in August.

Tips from the Bar: The Vulture Prompt

A “ghost line” (per Rachel McKibbens) is a line you use to prompt or inform a poem, but erase from your work at the end. You can use a ghost line of your own devising, from daily life, or borrow one from another artist.

Try starting your poem with a ghost line: delete it when your poem has taken shape. Here’s a possible example from Jason Carney’s Starve the Vulture:

Faith without works is dead.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 21, 2015: Jason Carney

Jason Carney, Dallas slam legend.

Jason Carney, Dallas slam legend.

Jason Carney, a poet, writer, and educator from Dallas, Texas, is a four-time National Poetry Slam Finalist, honored as a Legend of the Slam in 2007. He appeared on three seasons of the HBO television series Russell Simmons’ Def Poets. Jason has performed and lectured at some of our nation’s finest colleges and universities as well as high schools and juvenile detention centers from California to Maine. A graduate of Wilkes University MFA Program for Creative Writing, where he was an honored winner of the Etruscan Prize, the Bergman Foundation Scholarship, and the Norris Church-Mailer Scholarship. He is Co-founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit Young DFW Writers. His memoir, Starve the Vulture, will be released on Akashic/Kaylie Jones Books in January 2015 and has been optioned for film by Storefront Pictures.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. The Last Chance Slam, the final open poetry slam to qualify for the 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team, will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The new year doesn’t let up, poetry slam fans! Our second Wednesday of 2015 was a grand celebration, featuring the dynamic and very entertaining Pages Matam; Pages rocked the house, tugged at some heartstrings, and even gave away a custom bow-tie after a 90-second audience physical challenge. We wish him the best of luck and fun as his tour continues west!

Following Pages, of course, was the highly anticipated Champion of Champions poetry slam, featuring a field of seven previous winners, all fighting for a chance to take on the reigning champ, Sean Patrick Mulroy. It was a wicked good field, perhaps best illustrated by the final season championship matchup between Ed Wilkinson and Meaghan Ford; after a hot final round, the two longtime competitors actually TIED, forcing a tie-breaker match! Ed took the tiebreaker and went on to not-very-reluctantly challenge Sean for the crown… However, Sean’s surprise new work performed in the final round got the edge over Ed’s fifth (!) performance of the night, earning Ed an opportunity to shake his fist at Sean’s continued dominion over the venue.

Next week: we’re back with the Last Chance Slam, the very final chance to get on the qualifying roster for the Boston Poetry Team Selection Slams. Oh, wait, you were wondering who the headliner is? It’ll be none other than Jason Carney, a four-time National Poetry Slam Finalist so classy he uses a pic of himself upstairs at the Cantab as the iconic image on his website. Come welcome this Texas sensation to our basement stage for the first time.

Tips from the Bar: Emily O’s Debut

Write about one of your personal hells.

Cantab Feature for January 14, 2015: Pages Matam and the Champion of Champions Slam

Pages Matam, DC-Cameroonian poet.

Pages Matam, DC-Cameroonian poet.

Pages Matam is a multidimensional creative writing and performance artist, residing in the D.C. metropolitan area, but originally from Cameroon, Africa. He is an author, educator, activist, playwright, host, event organizer, award-winning slam poet, and his greatest accomplishment, being a father. A proud gummy bear elitist, bow-tie enthusiast, professional hugger and anime fanatic, be prepared to be taken on a journey of cultural and personal discovery unapologetic in its silly, yet visceral and beautifully honest in its storytelling.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. The Champions of Champions Slam in the 8×8 speed slam series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Folks, if you are ever planning a party at your place, like the sort of party you would normally have every week except you took two weeks off for holidays, and also the night of the party turns out to be really cold, like actually below zero, you should definitely invite Rachel McKibbens to your party, because then everyone will definitely come. A toast and a thanks to the brave souls who came out on the coldest day of the winter (so far… yikes) to listen in to Rachel’s “B-sides” feature: a vulnerable and honest set of her work spanning three books, including more than a few poems she rarely voices aloud. We are honored to be one of Rachel’s poetry homes and hope to welcome her to the venue again this year.

Our slam that night marked the very last of our current 8×8 series (and the second-to-last qualifier for the 2015 team!), so there was plenty of interest in that crumpled $10 bill Sean Mulroy was offering the winners. The final head-to-head came down to Josh Elbaum and Sophia Holtz, both clearly holding nothing back to take the top spot: despite a strong showing in a tiebreaker in the semi-final round, Josh ultimately fell to Sophia’s Jersey-centric comedic finale, rocketing her to the Champion of Champions round next week.

Wait, that’s next week?? You betcha! The past eight slam winners will take on the reigning champ, the aforementioned oft-times slam host Sean Mulroy, in a winner-take-all 8×8 championship match next Wednesday! Our headlining poet that night will be Cameroonian-born D.C. poet and bow-tie enthusiast Pages Matam. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: The Oz Prompt

Write a poem that’s intentionally, terribly bad. Don’t be a bastard. Finish with the audience liking you.

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