Cantab Slam for Wednesday, February 19, 2020: Love vs. Death

Love vs. Death Poetry Slam at the Boston Poetry Slam. Graphic courtesy Rat Queen Cassandra de Alba.

Love vs. Death Poetry Slam at the Boston Poetry Slam. Graphic courtesy Rat Queen Cassandra de Alba.

We know, we know: the lead-up and the come-down to and from the February “holiday” is wicked. Oversaturated with hearts and flowers? Nervous about what one-off romantics might step to the open mic this week? To allay your fears, the Boston Poetry Slam proudly presents a poetry slam: Love vs. Death, that most timeless of battles (well, since 2013, around here, anyway). Seven slammers will take the stage for each team, bringing a newly composed work to the competition and settling which poetic entity deserves to ride off into immortality.

Our roster is now complete! Thanks (and good luck) to all these poets who have promised to produce a new poem on theme or in persona for their team, to be scored in an even more irrelevant way than usual. Announcing our slammers:

LOVE VERSUS DEATH
Nora Meiners vs. Ronald Prudent on The Proposal
Sara H. vs. Dawn Gabriel on Ask Me Anything
Yehya Barakat vs. Sophia Holtz on Silent Movie
Brittany Frederick vs. Kieran Collier on Orlando, Florida
Emily Duggan vs. Ben Tolkin on Spelunking
Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah vs Joshua ßenjamin Elbaum on Birthday Party
Captains round: Zeke Russell vs. Allison TRUJ on The Winchester Mystery House
Sacrifice round: John Pinkham vs. George Abraham on The Matrix

Open mic poets are welcomed and encouraged to pick a side (or both), and parties who sign up in advance to judge will be admitted for free.

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

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, February 12, 2020: Ariana Brown and a No Romance Open Mic

For Valentine’s Day this year, the Boston Poetry Slam presents an ultra-safe NO ROMANCE open mic, forbidding one-off stylings of any would-be Casanovas and offering optional BINGO CARDS for those truly invested in enforcing a romance-free evening. Proper erotica (note that consent is a non-negotiable component of erotica), fanfic/shipping, or professions of aromantic love to your best friend, dog, or favorite comfy sweater will be warmly welcomed.

Our headlining feature for the evening is exempt from the preceding condition:

San Antonio poet and Academy of American Poets prizewinner Ariana Brown. Photo by Adam Hamze.

San Antonio poet and Academy of American Poets prizewinner Ariana Brown. Photo by Adam Hamze.

Ariana Brown is a queer Black Mexican American poet from San Antonio, Texas, with a B.A. in African Diaspora Studies and Mexican American Studies. She is the recipient of two Academy of American Poets Prizes and a 2014 collegiate national poetry slam champion. Ariana, who has been dubbed a “part-time curandera,” is primarily interested in using poetry to validate Black girl rage, in all its miraculous forms. Follow her work online at arianabrown.com or on Twitter and Instagram.

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

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, February 5, 2020

It is always an occasion when we are lucky enough to have longtime Boston-area working poet Tatiana M.R. Johnson in the house! Tatiana ran a stellar and carefully crafted workshop for us to start the night, and was a warmly welcoming listener to our star-studded open mic; her feature was an exciting combination of tested work from her book, widely published singles from her latest project, and a grab bag of covers, short treats, and brand-new-on-its-feet-for-the-first-time poems. Lucky you, Cantab.

Missed this workshop, or craving more? Our next two are coming up in March: we’ll have torrin a. greathouse leading on March 11, and featured poet Bradley Trumpfheller running one on March 25.

Next week: we’ll be honored with the presence of the great and awesome Ariana Brown, back for a visit from Texas for the first time in two years! Date Night hopefuls beware: in traditional response to the Friday holiday, our open mic will have a strict No Romance policy, enforced by free romantic-love-trope bingo cards available at the door.

Tips from the Bar: The Porsha O Prompt (part I)

Imagine you are a genie freed by someone intent on using their wishes to cause harm. How do you negotiate with or guide the wisher? How do you use semantics to avoid giving the wisher what they desire?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, February 5, 2020: Tatiana M.R. Johnson

Boston poet Tatiana M.R. Johnson. Photo by Manuel Boria.

Boston poet Tatiana M.R. Johnson. Photo by Manuel Boria.

Tatiana M.R. Johnson (she/her/hers) is a writer, artist and educator in the Boston area. She’s an MFA candidate in poetry at Emerson College and works as poetry editor for the literary journal Redivider. She is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and she’s recently been published in Southern Humanities Review as an Honorable Mention selection for the 2019 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, judged by Vievee Francis. Tatiana’s writing is forthcoming in Transition Magazine and Aesthetica Magazine. Her writing explores identity and trauma, especially inherited trauma and what it means to heal.

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

Cantab Workshop for Wednesday, February 5, 2020 with Tatiana M.R. Johnson

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. Black poets are invited to attend this workshop for free.

Tatiana M.R. Johnson (she/her/hers) is a writer, artist and educator, MFA candidate in poetry at Emerson College, and poetry editor for the literary journal Redivider. Learn more about Tatiana, who will also be the featured poet for the night, at this link.

DESCRIPTION FROM THE WORKSHOP LEADER
We’ll spend this workshop hour on reclaiming trauma and healing. The workshop will be generative through various writing prompts, reflective as we’ll look at a poem or two and analyze it together. For those in the workshop who would like to share their work, we’ll do that as well.

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. Black poets are invited to attend this workshop at no cost.

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, click here.

Moonlighting: A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series on February 2, 2020

This reading is part of our LGBTQIA+ series, Moonlighting. This month’s event is scheduled for Sunday, February 2, 2020, and the featured readers are Keely Fae and Justice Ameer.

Keely Fae is a visuals teaching artist, poet, and performer from Providence, RI. He has represented the Providence Poetry Slam at the Brave New Voices International Poetry Festival, Keely was featured by Write About Now in the Best of BNV Showcase in 2018.

Justice Ameer is a poet and organizer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Xyr work explores the experience of being a Black trans woman in a post-racial and potentially post-apocalyptic America. Xe is a Pink Door fellow, FEM Slam Champion, and two-time Providence Grand Slam Champion. Justice was the Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rhode Island PrideFest. Xe is also a co-writer and producer of the theatrical production ANTHEM. Xyr work has been published in Glass Poetry Press, POETRY magazine, The Nation, and The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic anthology.

Click here for more information about this recurring show, or here for our Facebook event.

This show in our monthly Sunday queer series takes place The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge. Doors open at 7:00 for a 7:30 open mic with the feature to follow. The show is all-ages and a $5 donation is requested; no one will be turned away for lack of funds.


Click here for detailed accessibility information, or read on:

Physical Accessibility- The Democracy Center has a wheelchair accessibly entrance and the room we are in is wheelchair accessible. The Democracy Center does not have a wheelchair accessible bathroom, but one is available for use at the neighboring restaurant “The Daedalus”. Moonlighting strives to be as accessible as possible, we apologize for this inaccessibility and are working to secure a more accessible venue.

Stimulus Accessibility- Moonlighting does not play loud music at any point in the show. We ask that all participants on the open mic and all performers use the microphone provided for all aspects of their performance. There are a few options to adjust the lighting in the room we are in– if you need the lighting adjusted to better your experience at our show, please talk to Ilyus or Myles and we will do everything in our power to do so. We ask that you do not wear strong fragrances in our space. We love you and want you here and want to acknowledge and act upon everything in our power to ensure that as many folks have full access to the space as possible.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 29, 2020: Porsha Olayiwola

Boston Poet Laureate and House Slam co-founder Porsha Olayiwola. Photo by Carlie Febo.

Boston Poet Laureate and House Slam co-founder Porsha Olayiwola. Photo by Carlie Febo.

Porsha Olayiwola is from the future! Black, poet, queer-dyke, hip-hop feminist, womanist: Porsha is a native of Chicago who now resides in Boston. Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the artistic director at MassLEAP, a literary youth organization. Olayiwola is an MFA Candidate at Emerson College. Porsha Olayiwola is the author of i shimmer sometimes, too forthcoming with Button Poetry and is the current Poet Laureate for the city of Boston.

There will be no poetry slam competition after the feature tonight; please come celebrate our feature’s new book.

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

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 22, 2020

It’s been an exceptionally sweet January on the open mic, and this past week was a great highlight: lots of newcomers, lots of returnees, and a warm feeling of listening and being listened to all night. The night was headlined by writer and teacher Devin Kelly, a storyteller with a long-reaching arc of poetics and emotion to his work. Among other events, you can catch Devin hosting the Dead Rabbits reading every other week in Manhattan.

Our open slam, the last of January, saw two fresh-faced finalists face off in a sixty-second battle for a ten-dollar prize. Open mic regular and favorite Briana took the top honors, with Sara H. collecting another berth in our fabulous list of poets qualified for the 2020 Team Selection Slams. Looking for an opportunity to slam? We’re taking February off from competition, but we’ll offer four more chances to qualify in the month of March.

Next week: we close out our January with a feature from House Slam co-founder and Boston Poetry Laureate Porsha Olayiwola. Porsha will have copies of i shimmer somtimes, too on hand for sale; this will be a very popular night, so folks hoping for a spot on the open mic are advised to be in line for doors before we open!

Tips from the Bar: Simple But Also the Worst

Write a poem that turns around a pun (the worse, the better).