Cantab Recap for Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What an October night, folks! Local, national, and international all-stars all took a turn on our dingy little basement stage for an exceptionally excellent literary time. Our headliner was Marty McConnell, in town from Chicago en route to her booking at the Dodge Poetry Festival this year. Marty brought us a selection of work seemingly designed to speak to last night’s debate (yowza), including a few pieces to show off her still-impressive performance chops. The other half of our rockin’ double-bill, of course, was Mohamed Hassan, 2015 New Zealand national slam champ and currently ranked 23rd in the world after last week’s Individual World Poetry Slam; Mohamed brought us a stellar ten minutes that made it easy for us to see how he’s achieved international recognition. He’ll be the featured poet tonight at Slam Free or Die in Manchester, by the way, so get yourself together for a trip north if you want to catch this traveler before he returns to the other side of the world!

So it was a heckuva night even before 11:00 p.m., you know, but do you think we were ready to quit after all that goodness? Nopenopenope: instead, we rushed headlong into the Champion of Champions slam, where Ron, RebeccaLynn, Zeke Russell, Emily Taylor, and Adam Stone all dared to take the stage against Jess “Reign of Terror” Rizkallah, our fearless champion since August 10. After a two-round puppyfight (cuter than regular dogs, but with pointier teeth), RebeccaLynn and Zeke rose to the top of the pack of champs; RebeccaLynn dispatched her opponent within a casual two minutes and claimed the season championship! That wasn’t all, though: unsatisfied with the mere seasonal title, RebeccaLynn challenged Jess to the one-and-done all-new-poem final-final championship round… And after two brandy-new poems hit the stage, Jess Rizkallah was again our victor. Congrats again to RebeccaLynn for a top-notch season win, and to Champion Jess for retaining the venue’s greatest title.

After all that: can we do more poetry? Can we? WE CAN AND SHALL: next week we’ll welcome Zeke Russell, 2016 team member and longtime purveyor of Short Poems About Dead People, to our stage with a ghost-heavy set in time for the end of October. Go ahead, pack up your poems about complicated mourning and friends become strangers become ghosts: it’s the right time, the right featured poet, and just the right open mic to come peek beyond the veil.

Tips from the Bar: The Museum of Broken Relationships Is a Real Place

…Or at least as real as a place in L.A. can be.

Write about an exhibit in an unlikely museum, i.e., The Museum of Stolen Office Equipment or The Museum of Lost Teddy Bears. (Or: just write about your wing in the Museum of Broken Relationships.)

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, October 19, 2016: Marty McConnell, Mohamed Hassan, and the Champion of Champions Poetry Slam

Chicago poetry powerhouse Marty McConnell.

Chicago poetry powerhouse Marty McConnell.

Part of the vanguard of poets fusing and refusing the delineations between literary and oral poetry, Marty McConnell’s work blurs the lines between autobiography and personae to comment on and illuminate what it means to live and love outside the lines in early 21st century America. She is the author of wine for a shotgun, (EM Press, 2012), which received the Silver Medal in the 2013 Independent Publishers Awards, and was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award (Publishing Triangle) and the Lambda Literary Awards. She is also a seven-time National Poetry Slam team member, the 2012 National Underground Poetry Individual Competition (NUPIC) Champion, and appeared twice on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam.”

McConnell transplanted herself from Chicago to New York City in 1999, after completing the first of three national tours with The Morrigan, an all-female performance poetry troupe she co-founded. She received her MFA in creative writing/poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and for nearly a decade, co-curated the flagship reading series of the New York City-based louderARTS Project. She returned to Chicago in 2009 to launch Vox Ferus, an organization dedicated to empowering and energizing individuals and communities through the written and spoken word. Visit her at

Tonight also marks the final night in our current 8×8 poetry slam series! Eight slam winners will slam off for the season championship and the opportunity to challenge Jess Rizkallah, the reigning Champion of Champions.

Mohamed Hassan, New Zealand's 2015 National Slam Champion.

Mohamed Hassan, New Zealand’s 2015 National Slam Champion.

In addition to a nationally renowned feature and a championship slam, we will also offer an open mic spotlight from an international slam champion tonight! Mohamed Hassan is a journalist and poet from Auckland. He is the 2015 New Zealand National Slam Champion, winner of the 2013 Rising Voices Youth Grand Slam, a TEDx speaker and a member of the South Auckland Poets Collective. This year, he released his first collection of poetry, A Felling Of Things.

To see Mohamed feature on the open mic, we recommend arriving no later than 8:45… That is, if this grand heckuva show somehow doesn’t sell out when the doors open. Please plan ahead and remember that door time for the open mic is 7:15. In the case of a sold-out open mic, limited additional seating MAY become available for the headline feature around 9:45.

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 slam series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat Muggs Fogarty was in the house this week and blew. our. ever-lovin’. MINDS. In a feature that was fabulously worth the wait, Muggs settled into a rhythm early and brought us on a heavy journey through the darkness, only to shake us into the light at the end. What a lovely and thoughtful feature; huge thanks to Muggs for coming up from their home slam in Providence to share work with us. What a great night!

Finalized 8x8 standings for the fall championship scheduled for October 19, 2016.

Finalized 8×8 standings for the fall championship scheduled for October 19, 2016.

Our slam that night was hosted the the ever-excellent Tom Slavin, who paved the way for six poets to throw down for the final slam in the 8×8 series. The last round came down to John Pinkham and Adam Stone, both gunning for the win with big performances; bartender Adam took the win, the ten dollars, and the chance to challenge Jess Rizkallah at next week’s Champion of Champions slam.

But wait: that’s not all that’s on the docket for next week! Get ready to welcome 2013 NZ National champ (Yes, that’s NZ for NEW ZEALAND) Mohamed Hassan to a spotlight, followed up by our own National champ Marty McConnell coming to us from Chicago. It’s gonna be the biggest night of the fall, so get in the door early if you want to read, sit in a chair, or belly up to the bar!

Tips from the Bar: Did Someone Say Rhetorical?

Find a piece of media (song or poem, say) that asks a question. Answer it.

POSTPONED: Moonlighting: A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series RELAUNCH PARTY on October 13, 2016


Due to staffing changes at Article 24, the Moonlighting show for tonight has been POSTPONED. But good news: the new staff at Article 24 is still quite enthusiastic about welcoming us to the venue, and we look forward to working with them! We expect to announce a new date for this show next week.

We thank you for your patience, and apologize for any convenience. We are impatient for Moonlighting to return and will keep you posted!

After a ten-month hiatus, we are exhilarated to announce that Moonlighting has returned! This reading is the RELAUNCH PARTY for our monthly LGBTA+ series, Moonlighting, now at a new location in Brighton. Click here for more information about the show.

The relaunch of Moonlighting will celebrate with a double feature! To be presented are Emannuel Oppong-Yeboah and April Penn.

This show in our monthly Thursday LGBTA+ series takes place at Article 24, 458 Western Ave. in the Brighton area of Boston. An open mic begins at approximately 7:00 p.m. and the headliners follow the open mic. The show is all-ages and a $3 donation is requested.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, October 12, 2016: Muggs Fogarty

Providence poet Muggs Fogarty. Photo by Emma Glory.

Providence poet Muggs Fogarty. Photo by Emma Glory.

Muggs Fogarty is a current co-director of Providence Poetry Slam and the Director of ProvSlam Youth. A former Brave New Voices finalist, Muggs has represented Providence seven times respectively at National Poetry Slam, Women of The World Poetry Slam, and Individual World Poetry Slam. In 2015, Muggs became Providence’s GrandSlam Champion and was awarded full funding from the Rhode Island Council of the Arts Individual Project Grant. After graduating from The New School in 2013, Muggs has been working as a teaching artist with New Urban Arts, ¡CityArts!, and has coached multiple youth and collegiate slam teams. Their published work can be found in FreezeRay, Wicked Banshee, Bluestockings Magazine, and was recently anthologized in Glitter & Grit. Visit them at

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. An open poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What what what! Did you make it out to the Cantab last night to see our standing-room-only (barely) show featuring Neiel Israel, 2016 World Qualifier winner and Boston Poetry Slam IWPS rep in an extended play feature? If you didn’t know, now you know: Neiel Israel does NOT mess around. An hour of show full of your favorite work, a few new 30/30 pieces, and all her fresh-polished poems ready for the Individual World Poetry Slam next week in Flagstaff, Arizona, plus balloons, cake, and the first encore the Cantab stage has seen in some years: we know you got your $5 worth out of the dirty little basement last night. Watch this space for a link to follow Neiel’s scores next week, as well as some of your other favorite NorthBEASTers who are in the Arizona mix.

Meanwhile, though, I guess we can’t all go to the southwest for the week… So those of us staying home will enjoy the enviable treat of a feature from the excellent Muggs Fogarty! At last, at last, we have rescheduled Muggs from a blizzard-time cancellation months ago, and so it’s well past time for us to welcome them to the stage. Remember, next week is also the eighth slam in the 8×8 series, which means it’s your last chance to grab a spot to challenge Jess Rizkallah at the Champion of Champions slam on October 19. What a month!

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, October 5, 2016: Neiel Israel

Neiel Israel, 2016 World Qualifier Winner.

Neiel Israel, 2016 World Qualifier Winner.

Neiel Israel is an internationally acclaimed poet, vocalist, and arts educator who reports that her first time performing a poem on stage came at the Cantab Lounge. Emerging from UMass Boston with a B.A. in English, Neiel quickly distinguished herself as a powerful and lyrical poetic voice in the Boston slam scene. As an international teaching artist, Neiel leads workshops and classes in creative writing for schools, community programs, and colleges, and she is presently the America SCORES Boston Poet in Residence. She was a five-time member of the Lizard Lounge National Poetry Slam Team (2011-2015) as well as the Lizard Lounge Representative for (2011) Women of the World Poetry Slam.

This year, Neiel was the top scorer in the Boston Poetry Team Selection Slams, cementing her spot at the top of the 2016 BPS team. She then went on to take top honors in the two-night, six-poem World Qualifier series to earn herself a chance to represent the Boston Poetry Slam at the 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam in Flagstaff, Ariz. Tonight will be a final fundraising push to send Neiel to the tournament in the American southwest; it’s a $5 cover charge to see her special extended set with no poetry slam tonight.

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 an extended set at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thanks to all the good folks who came out last night for a great open mic and a feature from the SlamMaster! The slam was an eight-poet knock-down drag-out brawl, getting down to Brandon Melendez and Marshall Gillson in the final round. Marshall redeemed his loss from last Wednesday with a big finish over Brandon, qualifying him for the October 19 Champion of Champions match as well as the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team selection slams, which start in January (maybe you’ve heard).

Next week: grab a sawbuck and a friend and settle in downstairs for an extended feature set from our 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam representative Neiel Israel! We’ll be celebrating her trip to Flagstaff with a double-length feature of all the work you’ve been dying to hear (and plenty that you haven’t yet). Don’t forget: it’s a special $5 cover for this no-doubt-unforgettable show.

Older posts «