Cantab Recap for Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It was a dark and stormy night this past Wednesday in Cambridge, folks, but that didn’t stop a hardy and enthusiastic crowd from piling into the venue to see a feature from Gabriel Ramirez. Gabriel dropped a little rhyme on us before launching into the narratives that helped push his National Poetry Slam teams to semi-finalist finishes, then closed with a remarkable themed mini-set from his chapbooks about his brother. Looking forward to seeing what those poems inspire in our open mic in coming weeks.

The slam was an intense foursome of gotta-qualify-for-2017 poets, coming down to a split decision over rounds one and two between Nora Meiners and Allison Truj. After the third and final round, Truj emerged with the victory and the ten dollar bill! Congratulations to Truj on her first open slam win in three years(!) (welcome back!) at the Cantab Lounge.

Next week: tell your friends, tell them to tell their friends, and if y’all have haters, make sure you tell them, too… Jasmin Roberts is coming all the way from her Northampton scene and her poems are gonna mess you up good. Come celebrate with us in the basement as we wind down the end of 2016!

Tips from the Bar: It’s All True

Find a setlist for a band you don’t usually listen to (examples here). Let it inform the arc of your poem.

Moonlighting: A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series Featuring Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah on December 1, 2016

This reading is part of our monthly LGBTA+ series, Moonlighting. Click here for more information about this recurring show.

Moonlighting feature Ghanian-Boston Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah.

Moonlighting feature Ghanian-Boston Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah.

The featured reader for December 1, 2016 is Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah.

Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah is a Ghanaian American poet living out the diaspora in Boston (Massachusetts). He is both Black & alive. Emmanuel is the current Walltalk teaching artist at the Institute of Contemporary, Boston. He is an associate editor at Pizza Pi Press and the reviews editor at Winter Tangerine. Emmanuel has had work published in The Hartford Courant, Narrative Northeast, and Bird’s Thumb. While writing this personal biography, Emmanuel realized he was referring to himself in the third person. This upset him. He chose to write a list of some things that make him happy instead: hot carbs, brightly colored chapbooks, the long sigh at the end of a good book.

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 8:00 p.m. and the headliners follow the open mic. The show is all-ages and a $3 donation is requested.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 30, 2016: Gabriel Ramirez

New York poet Gabriel Ramirez. Photo by Nicholas Nichols.

New York poet Gabriel Ramirez. Photo by Nicholas Nichols.

Gabriel Ramirez is a Afro-Latinx poet, activist, and teaching artist. A youth mentor at Urban Word NYC, Gabriel has received fellowships from The Watering Hole, Willow Books and Callaloo and has performed on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, United Nations, Lincoln Center and the Apollo Theatre. In addition, he has been featured in The Huffington Post, VIBE Magazine, Blavity, Upworthy, The Flama and at a TEDxYouth Conference.

Gabriel has gone on to represent New York City at the National Poetry Slam festival on top semi-finalist teams in 2014 and 2015. You can find his work in various spaces, including Youtube, and in publications like The Volta, Jasper, VINYL and forthcoming in The Offing, African Voices and Afro-Latino Poetry Anthology (Arte Público Press 2016).

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, November 23, 2016

Glory, glory: big ups to all our poets who hung around town this week to gather for our first-ever High School Reunion slam. Sixteen poets (plus two stellar sacrifices) showed out for a half-hilarious, half-heartbreaking, all-awkward show full of the stories of adolescent dance regrets, forgettable fashion choices, unforgettable first loves, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and every kind of sex or lack thereof. It was almost enough to make a few of us miss high school… ALMOST.

Special thanks to our much-missed guest host Emily Carroll, and our hardy judges who were opaque in their motivations but consistent in their enumerations: despite strong individual showings from all four teams, the Freshmen (Millenials!!1!11!!) stayed solid through four rounds to take first place over the Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors– yup, in that order. Sure, maybe it’s youth, maybe it’s competitive fire, but mostly we just think it’s a grand up-and-coming all-star team; congratulations to Emily Taylor, RebeccaLynn, Evan Cutts, and John Pinkham for taking top honors.

Next week: it’s a rare fifth Wednesday of the month, and we’ve got a rare feature for you to match… NYC poet and Callaloo fellow Gabriel Ramirez will be in town. You’ll also have a chance to try your hand in the open slam (one of only five remaining to qualify for the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam team). We’re also pleased to announce that Moonlighting will continue with our monthly December show, hosted in our new space in Brighton and featuring Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah!

Tips from the Bar: That Guy Works for a Living

Write about the job you held for the shortest amount of time. Include why you quit/left/were fired.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 23, 2016: The High School Reunion Slam

Announcing the High School Reunion Slam! Flyer by Cassandra de Alba.

Announcing the High School Reunion Slam! Flyer by Cassandra de Alba.

In the words of our beloved 2016 Boston Poetry Slam Co-Rookie of the Year, Zeke Russell: HIGH SCHOOL IS BULLSHIT! HIGH SCHOOL IS BULLSHIT! HIGH SCHOOL! IS! BULLSHIT!

In the spirit of time healing all wounds, even those sustained from being mercilessly stuffed into a locker for the fourth time in as many weeks, we invite you to join a cast of Cantab regulars, irregulars, special guests and left fielders on Tofurkey Day Eve for a true-to-life reunion of the snarkiest kind. Four slapdash slam teams will take each other on in a grand mockery of Homecomings past, as the Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors each dare to rally for the downtrodden and heroic underdogs we all surely remember being. Homeschoolers, didn’t-stay-in-schoolers, and lifelong-school-of-hard-knocks poets and listeners are all enthusiastically welcomed to this soft-focus cavalcade of hard-nosed nostalgia.

Although our roster for the slam is full, poets are encouraged to bring on-theme work to the open mic! Boomers, X’ers, Gen Y, MTV Gens, and, yes, even Millennials are invited to present your poem-appropriate adolescent angst.


Official all-star slam roster:

SENIORS JUNIORS SOPHOMORES FRESHPPL
Dawn Gabriel
Michael Brown
Lea Deschenes
Sue Savoy
Nora Meiners
Eirean Bradley
Valerie Loveland
Wes Hazard
Chloé Cunha
Mckendy Fils Aimé
Emily Eastman
Porsha Olayiwola
RebeccaLynn
Evan Cutts
Emily Taylor
John Pinkham
Ageless Sacrifices: Adam Stone, Nathan Comstock

The slam will be hosted (ruthlessly) by Emily Carroll, home from New York City, since we won’t let her leave.

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 invite-only slam begins at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It’s been back-to-back Columbus celebrations at the Cantab, folks: this week, we welcomed rare traveler and Writers’ Block co-founder Vernell Bristow to the stage. This perennial national slammer and Columbus open mic mainstay brought her multi-facted, thoughtful work to the Cantab stage for the first time since she competed here at Nationals in 2013 and shone for a solid thirty minutes. This was an unusual chance to see Vernell outside of Ohio: keep her home slam in mind the next time you travel west on I-90.

After the feature, a really solid eight slammers took the stage, including some strong first-timers and some gung-ho regulars. The final came down to John Pinkham (oft-times slam finalist) and Allison Truj (rare bird at the slam). When the dust cleared, John was left standing holding the ten-dollar prize: congratulations to John, and we sure hope to see Truj back out to fight for a win in future weeks.

Next Wednesday: our feature will be the High School Reunion Slam. Missing your high school friends? Still rejecting the idea of senselessly formal, age-segregated education? Any which way, this slam is for you: the Freshmen vs. Sophomores vs. Juniors vs. Seniors will have you Facebooking your exes to tell them all about how anti-establishment yet formative our show is. Bring your favorite high school outfit and three minutes of angst to our open mic, then feel free to grab a whiteboard and judge our slammers’ art like the Heather you are.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 16, 2016: Vernell Bristow

Vernell Bristow competes downstairs at the Cantab Lounge during the 2013 National Poetry Slam. Photo by Mark Skrzypczak.

Vernell Bristow competes downstairs at the Cantab Lounge during the 2013 National Poetry Slam. Photo by Mark Skrzypczak.

Vernell Bristow is a poet from Columbus, OH. She began writing poetry while in college at Denison University. Her first poem was given to her by the universe. Since then, she’s had to work for every poem she’s written. Vernell has many experiences in the world of poetry slam, representing her scene multiple times at all three Poetry Slam Inc., events (the National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam).

When Vernell not working on her own poetry, she’s had the pleasure of editing the published works of other poets. Her latest artistic endeavors have led her to the theatrical stage as an actor. Vernell is the co-founder of Writers’ Block Poetry in Columbus, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the human mom of the cutest doggie ever.

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, November 9, 2016

Sure, the sun came up on Wednesday morning… Sure, it was a clear and beautiful day in Boston, and, if you want to be grateful, you can be grateful that the weather brought William Evans‘ flight safe and sound to the city of Boston, just in time to bring us solid, sane, important, and personal words from his life growing up and raising a family in Ohio. Each of Will’s pieces opened a small, intense window on an American life, and a voice we desperately needed to hear. Thanks to Will for his patience, kindness, honest, and willingness to book himself with us the day after Election Day. Watch for the manuscript he read from this week in book form next year… And, of course, for his next local show at the Haley House Slam tonight, November 11.

By the way: thanks, too, to our open mic, for their own sweetness and honesty on a tough night. The crowd in the Cantab this Wednesday came out to hold space for each other, and the poets did not disappoint: the mic was filled with sadness and anger, yes, but also moments of genuine laughter and hope. The four slammers who closed the night took their cue from the rest of the show and brought their best to the stage, culminating in a final round between John Pinkham and Meaghan Ford! Congratulations to Meaghan, who took the win and the Hamilton home.

Next week: we continue our run of brilliant Columbus poets with Vernell Bristow, co-founder of the famed Writers’ Block slam and a perennial National Poetry Slam powerhouse. We’ll also throw open the roster for the fourth slam in this final 8×8 series of 2016.

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