Cantab Recap for Wednesday, August 16, 2017

After the grand send-off of our 2017 National Poetry Slam team two weeks ago, followed by RebeccaLynn retaining her title at a walloping Champion of Champions last week, it could have been tough to get back into the regular swing of open mic/feature/open slam… Fortunately, Madeline Maienza and Evan Cutts were in the house to ease us back into reality. These two nationally ranked last chance slammers brought us a sweet spotlight each, fresh off their performances at the National Poetry Slam. Looking for more of these poets? No sweat: you can reach out to Venmo Madeline Maienza for their online chapbook, or email Evan Cutts to get a hold of his paper, in-the-world collection.

As for our first open slam in a minute: it filled up with a vengeance last night, as open mic’ers flocked to fill the last available spots after the feature. Rising to the top were Wheelock newcomer Julissa and committed regular Lip; Julissa might have taken the first two rounds by score in the slam, but fell in the finals to our clean-slate format and Lip’s unwavering performance. Congrats to Lip, who takes home the $10 and the first win in our final 8×8 series of the year.

Next week: Boston’s first-ever Poet Laureate, Danielle Legros Georges, will be in the house. Will this basement clean up and act nice, or be the most Cantab we’ve ever been? No need to answer here; the house should be packed next week, so come by early next week to get heard and listen up.

Tips from the Bar: Weekend Getaway

Write about a place that makes you feel safe or happy.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 16, 2017: Madeline Maienza and Evan Cutts [postponed: Emily Duggan]

Whoops! Cantabbers, as sometimes happens, due to circumstances beyond her control, Emily Duggan’s feature has been postponed to a future date. Instead, we are proud to present the following last-minute fill-ins of utmost quality: Madeline Maienza and Evan Cutts!

Madeline "Red" Maienza, genderqueer dreamboat barista poet.

Madeline “Red” Maienza, genderqueer dreamboat barista poet.

As you may know, the 2017 National Poetry Slam took place last week, and the week before that was a schedule packed with New England venues bidding grand good luck to their departing teams. Also departing– with intent to volunteer and spectate at the tournament– were a number of hardy locals, some of whom were lucky enough to draw spots in the festival’s Last Chance Slam. Two NorthBEASTERs came out in the top four of this melee, earning them fifty percent of the spots on the appropriately-named Cross Country Collective; the rookies earned a rank of 41 out of 80 in the tournament, and a #1 in our hearts. Since they never got a send-off, please welcome these two hard-repping Last Chance slammers home!

Emersonian, Last Chance NPS finalist, and faith-keeper in Black joy: Evan Cutts. Photo by Paola Méndez.

Emersonian, Last Chance NPS finalist, and faith-keeper in Black joy: Evan Cutts. Photo by Paola Méndez.

Madeline Maienza is a 20-year-old genderqueer poet & dreamboat barista who public-cries most frequently in Manchester, N.H. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming on Slamfind, New Hampshire Public Radio, & thriving (gloworm press), and The Other Side of Violet (great weather for MEDIA). Through their work, they hope to remind the world and also themself that femme is not fragile, that there is strength in softness, and that queer survival in the face of systematic violence is inherently, indisputably brave. Visit them on twitter: @sadeline_ / Instagram: @depressoshot.

Evan Jymaal Cutts is a 23-year-old Boston native, poet, freelance writer, and writing workshop facilitator. Evan was a member of the Emerson College 2017 CUPSI Team and NPS 2017 Last Chance Slam Team. He puts faith in Black joy, his parents, and the collective power of imagination and empathy. His poetry navigates expressions of Blackness, local reality and myth, heritage, and magic. His first collection of poetry, Encounters and Other Poems, was self-published this year and can be ordered online. His poetry can be found online at Voicemail Poems, Maps for Teeth, The Merrimack Review, Apogee Journal, and Broken Head Press. Find him on at Facebook or, for booking, email cuttsartistry@gmail.com.


Bio of the postponed feature:

Poet and Ghost Host (really) Emily Duggan. Photo by Jason Kasman.

Poet and Ghost Host (really) Emily Duggan. Photo by Jason Kasman.

Emily Duggan has studied creative writing, performance poetry, straight and applied theatre, and improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy at Brandeis University, GrubStreet, ImprovBoston, and The Second City— Chicago. Her day job is a night job as a Ghost Host (“dead for bread”) with Ghosts & Gravestones’ haunted trolley/burying-ground tour, where she is always working the graveyard shift, natch. Emily has spent 96% of her life (and all of her death) in the Greater Boston area, so, at the end of August, she will begin her candidacy for the MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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, August 9, 2017

Cantabbers! It’s now the third week of August, the end of the National Poetry Slam season and almost time for the venue to start filling up with wide-eyed out-of-towners, fresh from their first classes of the semester. Don’t worry, though, some things are consistent as always: this past week, our featured event was the Champion of Champions Slam, where reigning champ RebeccaLynn defeated newly crowned season challenger Anna Binkovitz to retain her prestigious title. RebeccaLynn will be back to defend her title on October 18, as well as for a full feature late in the calendar year.

This Wednesday: our 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team, the venue’s first-ever Group Piece Finalists, will return from the National Poetry Slam to our open mic and open slam. Right in the heart of the night we’ll have storyteller-poet Emily Duggan in one of her last shows in New England. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Date Night

Discuss a time you took someone to a cultural event. Why did you take them there and how did it affect your relationship with them?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 9, 2017: Champion of Champions Poetry Slam

Tonight marks the final night in our current 8×8 poetry slam series! What does that mean? It means the eight slam winners from the current slam series will slam off against one another, all competing for the opportunity to take the Season Champion crown and a $50 prize.

But wait, there’s more: once the season champ is crowned, they’ll have the opportunity to let their winnings ride and challenge the reigning Champion of Champions in a one-poem, ALL NEW WORK round! The event will be hosted by Kieran Collier and we’ll need five steady judges to volunteer their poetic opinions from the audience.

Our current reigning champion, RebeccaLynn, wrested the title from Kylie Noelle back in the spring. Who will rise from the pool to take on the mantle of new challenger? Will the title change hands, or will our current champ reign supreme?


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 Champions of Champions Slam in the 8×8 slam series will begin at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Plus three more thank-yous, because there are five poets and one coach all full of gratitude for the Cantab audience right now; over the course of the last four months, our little three-or-five-dollar-show has raised the not-insignificant amount of money necessary to register our team for the National Poetry Slam, get to Denver on an airplane, sleep in actual beds prior to competition and YES!– we even made our stretch goal of raising enough to bring the team back home at the end of the week.

The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Brandon Melendez, Zeke Russell, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Neiel Israel, Myles Em Taylor. Photo by Marshall Goff.

The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Brandon Melendez, Zeke Russell, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Neiel Israel, Myles Em Taylor. Photo by Marshall Goff.

For those not able to travel to the slam itself to cheer the team on, we hope you agree with us that this past week’s feature was the next best thing. The awesome fivesome of Zeke Russell, Neiel Israel, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Brandon Melendez, and Myles Em Taylor brought their signature high-volume, high-tenderness work to the stage, both individually and in duets, trios, and a gloriously anxious quintet. Thanks to everyone who purchased chapbooks, authorized bootlegs, and patches; anyone who wants a copy of THIS ROLE WE WILL WIN NO AWARDS FOR or one of Myles’ signature Cantab awning patches will find them for sale at the door.

The team will bout on Tuesday at 7pm MST and then Wednesday at 9pm MST (send your friends in Denver to the McNichols building and the Epernay Lounge, respectively!), then await results of Thursday’s bouts to see who makes the Friday semi-finals. You’ll need to get connected with us on Facebook to see the results, but you might luck out and catch live scoring from some of the venues at npsdenver.com/scores.

And, of course, while just six folks are out of the venue next week, the all-star badass hosts you know and love will be holding down the open mic and a Champion of Champions poetry slam with RebeccaLynn and eight qualified challengers! Come hoot and holler and get your judging on next Wednesday.

Tips from the Bar: What You Believe

In Phillip B. Williams’ important long poem, Witness, the poet’s grandfather is credited with the following line: you cannot love a god that you fear.

Do you believe that’s true or false? And how?


You can read Witness online in its entirety. Give yourself plenty of time, both to read and sit with it, and be advised that the content upon which the poem turns is violent.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 2, 2017: The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team

The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Brandon Melendez, Zeke Russell, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Neiel Israel, Myles Em Taylor. Photo by Marshall Goff.

The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Brandon Melendez, Zeke Russell, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Neiel Israel, Myles Em Taylor. Photo by Marshall Goff.

This night will mark the Cantab’s last show before the 2017 National Poetry Slam, when we send off the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam team to compete for a week in Denver, Colorado! Brandon Melendez, Zeke Russell, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Neiel Israel, and Myles Em Taylor will have an extended feature set to bring out their top hits, one-off group pieces, and tender farewells before taking a run at the mile-high championship. It’s five all-star poets in one show, so get your requests in well before you get in line at the door! The team will have plenty of product on hand to help fundraise for their trip to NPS.

To learn more about this year’s Boston Poetry Slam Team, click here. We’ll do our best to keep you updated here with the team’s upcoming bout schedule at the National Poetry Slam, and links to help you follow along: the bout draw will be announced in early July.

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

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Poets! Listeners! Rowdy (but not overly rowdy) bar patrons! Thanks to everyone for filling up and selling out our little basement this past Wednesday for the incomparable Tatiana M.R. Johnson. Tatiana rocked the house with her vulnerability, intimacy, and unshy humor, bringing work straight from her beautiful new book, for the love of black girls. Sure, she sold out of the books she brought to the Cantab, but we know she’s got more in her back pocket: catch the artist on the open mic at the House Slam, or pick up her book directly from Amazon, or look for her book release feature at Make Shift Boston on August 22.

Our slam that night started off gently and rose to a rollicking finish between home-team rep Myles Taylor and bartender and Slam Free or Die slammer John Pinkham. Home field advantage is one thing, but permission to go behind the bar must be another: John took the top honors, earning $10 and the last spot in the August 9 Champion of Champions Slam. (That’s gonna be a hot one, by the way: reigning champ RebeccaLynn will be back from a writing retreat with a bucketload of new poems to defend her title.)

Can’t get enough poetry? No worries, we got you covered: next Wednesday, in the lee of the Fightin’ Moon (TM Zeke Russell), we’ll have a grand extended feature to send off the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam team! Zeke, Neiel Israel, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Brandon Melendez, and Myles Em Taylor will take the stage to show off their Nationals-bound work. Pack a little extra cash, please: it’s a $5 cover this week for the team’s final push to fundraise to get to NPS in Denver, and there’ll be big ol’ chapbooks for sale all night. See you there!

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