Cantab Recap for Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It was the most bittersweet night of nights at the Cantab yesterday, folks: the incomparable Manvir Singh delivered a deliciously performed, fabulously crafted series of personal and fantastical narratives, all powered by his characteristic lilting and seemingly limitless energy. Yes! We shall miss him greatly in his indefinite travels: fortunately, he can be kept up with remotely on Instagram and at manvir.org.

The slam that followed also had the flavor of a gloriously surreal dance party: six experienced slammers threw down to fight for the ten-dollar prize, with Emersonian Emily Taylor and House Slam rep Marshall Gillson taking it all the way to finals. Despite a huge performance from Marshall, Emily took the big win and qualifies for the BPS team for the first time ever/so far/check out the list of 2017 qualified poets here.

Next week: we’re back with the seventh open slam in the 8×8 series. Our feature will be the SlamMaster who writes these recaps, so we’ll keep the exclamation points to a minimum. Come see some poems get read if you are into that sort of thing.

Tips from the Bar: While You Were Out

While you are away, your pet (real or imagined) has an unlikely job. Describe it and whether your pet is good at it.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, September 21, 2016: Manvir Singh

Poet of the surreal Manvir Singh. Photo by Stace Brandt.

Poet of the surreal Manvir Singh. Photo by Stace Brandt.

Manvir Singh writes surreal stories and then embellishes them with flames, small crystals, and facepaint so that other people mistake them for performance poems. His mother thinks of them quite highly of them, an opinion she considers “objective,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Manvir has twice shared a Pushing the Art Forward Award and once received a stipend to study beetles in the Rocky Mountains. He has published two and a half small books, but none of them include poetry, except in the broadest sense. As of January 2016, he assures people that he wants to “destroy sincerity.” He currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he pursues a PhD. Check out his work and whatnot at manvir.org and his newly-minted Instagram (@moon.var).

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, September 14, 2016

The weather is getting cooler, folks, and you know what that means: more excuse to pack the house in our basement every Wednesday. Welcome back to all our returning fall readers! Our feature last night was longtime open mic regular Catherine Martin, who released her new chapbook, What I Want, to the listening crowd. The slam was a fun back-and-forth between some returning poets and some very harsh judges (yes! welcome to the Cantab), resulting in a final pairing between Meaghan Ford and Zeke Russell. Zeke took the big win and the ten-dollar payday, earning himself a spot in the qualifiers for the 2017 team this January.

Next week: Manvir Singh is one of our most distinctive and glorious voices at the Cantab, and he’ll be leaving us (!) for quite some time at the end of the month. Come wish him a fond farewell and enjoy the fantastical work he’s best-known for on our stage. We’ll close the night with the sixth open slam in our current 8×8 series.

Tips from the Bar: No, You Can’t Be Creepy

What would you do if you had a body double?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, September 14, 2016: Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin, Florida-Georgia-Cantab poet.

Catherine Martin, Florida-Georgia-Cantab poet.

Catherine Martin was born in Florida and raised in Georgia. She’s been writing poetry since she was 13, which is officially half of her life. She loves Massachusetts, but doesn’t write about it too much. She does marketing, graphic design, photography, and video editing professionally. She does yoga, poetry, and drinking personally. Last year, she produced the third season of the Encyclopedia Show Somerville, which was pretty great. Catherine went to Smith College, and then Emerson College, so now she’s done with college for a while. Her work has appeared in the Nimrod Journal of Prose and Poetry, the Superstition Review, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and elsewhere.

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, September 7, 2016

Well, we hope Scott Woods is thankful: despite his sick-day cancellation, we did NOT have to present an impromptu Columbus poet roast in lieu of his feature last night. Instead, local favorite and BPS staff mainstay Tom Slavin took the stage for a lovingly crafted, entirely off-the-dome selection of his greatest hits from 2015. Some of us wish we could put together such a cohesive and beautifully performed show given months of practice– never mind the couple of hours’ notice we were able to give Tom. If you were there, you were lucky enough to catch one more great example of how proud we are to see our poetry staff really walk the walk. If you weren’t there: well, you’re pretty lucky anyway, because in addition to hearing Tom weekly on our mic, you can also watch his Old Dog Poems website for the recorded version of last night’s feature.

Our slam last night was also one of the finest of the new season, welcoming a really exciting mix of regulars, occasionals, and new-poets-to-us to the stage. The devastating final round came down to 2016 teammates Zeke Russell and Neiel Israel: Neiel took the win, having shown off her 1-, 2-, and 4-minute poems (maybe?) for her upcoming Individual World Poetry Slam appearance. Both of those two have features coming up, so if you enjoyed the slam, mark your calendars for an excellent October.

Next week: the hits keep coming! Catherine Martin was a regular you could set your watch by on our open mic… Until coordinating a full season of the Encyclopedia Show: Somerville took her artist’s time away from us for almost a year. Come join us for her triumphant return to the poetry stage next Wednesday; if you’re looking to make your own return for the fall, we’ll have an open slam for you, too.

Tips from the Bar: A Surprisingly Sweet Bartender Prompt

Write a love letter to your favorite (or, okay a favorite) book.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: Cantab Feature for Wednesday, September 7, 2016: Tom Slavin (WAS: Scott Woods)

Due to having contracted the Columbus Librarian Death Flu (not quite, but folks, please cover your mouths when you cough), Scott Woods has canceled his feature for tonight. Scott sends his deepest regrets and promises to reschedule as soon as he is well enough to do so. In his absence, please check out his newest book, and also enjoy an excellent last-minute local substitute of the utmost quality:

Tom Slavin performs at the Encyclopedia Show: Somerville in 2014. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Tom Slavin performs at the Encyclopedia Show: Somerville in 2014. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Tom Slavin is a member of the Boston Poetry Slam hosting and bout management staff, and an increasingly involved community member hailing from the Cantab old guard. He is a two-time National Poetry Slam Finalist and proud to have shared teams with other Cantab legends such as Brian Comisky and Patricia Smith. He “retired” from slam in 1995, but and returned to the venue eighteen years later to wrest the Champion of Champions title from its holder, successfully defending the championship three times before being deposed. His work is included in the anthology Boston Poetry Slam: 20 Years at the Cantab Lounge and his collection of selected poems, Store Window of a Thrift Shop, as well as recordings of live features, are available on his website.

Tom is a gay man who survived the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s, and he is a recovering alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over thirty years. His work brings this experience to bear on the topics of love and life, and his measured and powerful performance is both a clinic for poets of all experience and a show not to be missed. Come see this hardworking man-behind-the-scenes take center stage 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 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.


Biography of the canceled feature (Scott has promised to reschedule ASAP, and we believe him):

Columbus author Scott Woods. Photo courtesy Columbus Alive.

Columbus author Scott Woods. Photo courtesy Columbus Alive.

Scott Woods is the author of Urban Contemporary History Month and We Over Here Now (2016 and 2013 respectively, Brick Cave Books) and has published and edited work in a variety of publications. He has been featured multiple times in national press, including multiple appearances on National Public Radio. He was the President of Poetry Slam, Inc. and emcees the Writers’ Block Poetry Night, an open mic series in Columbus, Ohio. In April of 2006 he became the first poet to ever complete a 24-hour solo poetry reading, a feat he bested with seven more annual readings without repeating a single poem.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Oh, August: even with five Wednesdays, you were just too short to contain all the late-summer greatness of the month’s Boston Poetry Slam features. Last night, we closed out the month with the incomparable Oompa Williams, who brought the heavy, the melodic, the tight tight story and the barzzzz to the Cantab stage. Watching this poet work the room with both new work and poems that were tried and tested on the Nationals stage was a true privilege: watch out, folks, the 2017 slam season is coming! Oh, and if you’re looking to connect with Oomp on social media, you know we promised you these links, so go visit: you can reach her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at @oompoutloud.

Speaking of slam season, though: eight more poets vied for a chance to qualify for the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam team last night. Both promising newcomers and pleased-to-see-you returning slammers had to step aside for our two finalists: RebeccaLynn and Nathan Comstock! Despite a strong effort from Nathan, RebecccaLynn finally brought the hammer down in her third final round this month, securing her win and making herself ten dollars richer.

Next week: NO BIG DEAL, IT’S JUST SCOTT WOODS COMING, TRY TO BE COOL, OKAY? One of our favorite perennial features, this Columbus SlamMaster and no-shit-talking librarian will take the stage with no punches pulled, be warned. We’ll finish up the night with the fourth open slam in the 8×8 series.

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