Encyclopedia Show: Somerville for Thursday, May 26, 2016 — S3V6: EXERCISE

Encyclopedia Show: Somerville — EXERCISE on May 26, 2016! Art by Melissa Newman-Evans.

Encyclopedia Show: Somerville — EXERCISE on May 26, 2016! Art by Melissa Newman-Evans.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
The Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm St. in Somerville
7pm doors, 8pm-10pm show
all ages, $10/$7 sliding scale
click for Facebook event

The Boston Poetry Slam and Catherine Martin present the next installment in a slightly educational monthly series!

Our theme for this month’s show will be EXERCISE! The brawniest, most cardiovascular artists we could locate will breathfully present their newest work on this stimulating topic.

The Encyclopedia Show Somerville is a franchise event, wherein invited artists from a variety of performance disciplines present all-new, original works on sub-topics of a single theme. A recurring cast of hosts and characters welcomes the artists with open arms and minds, while the resident Fact Checker is charged with maintaining the integrity of the Encyclopedic Truth of the show. Presenting all-original guest performances from local artists, plus work from our recurring cast members:

  • Rob Crean and Chloé Cunha provide clever banter and funny accents appropriate for CO-HOSTING
  • The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library offers MUSICAL SUPPORT
  • Wes Hazard dispenses QUESTIONABLE EXPERTISE with panache and aplomb
  • and The Intern has a really goofy headband he will absolutely not be permitted to wear.

Live Fact Checking is reluctantly provided by Jack van Sly from the Institute of Human Knowledge and Hygiene. The personal assistant to Mr. van Sly is Jade Sylvan.


This show in our monthly Encylopedia Show: Somerville series takes place at the Davis Square Theatre, 255 Elm St. in Somerville. Doors and the theatre bar open for a pre-show welcome party at 7:00. The show begins promptly at 8:00 and finishes at 10:00, including a short intermission. This is an all ages show! Admission is $10, or $7 for students, teachers, or guests in Prohibition-era dress.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 25, 2016: Fatimah Asghar

Kundiman Fellow Fatimah Asghar. Photo by Reginald Eldridge.

Kundiman Fellow Fatimah Asghar. Photo by Reginald Eldridge.

Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, photographer and performer. She created Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first Spoken Word Poetry group, REFLEKS, while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-violent contexts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, PEN Poetry Series, The Paris-American, The Margins, and Gulf Coast. She is a Kundiman Fellow and a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Her chapbook After was released on Yes Yes Books fall of 2015.

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, May 28, 2016: Neiel Israel Wins the World Qualifier!

There can be only one, Cantab. Only one poet can represent the Boston Poetry Slam at the Individual World Poetry Slam in Flagstaff, Arizona, and our top-scoring poet of last night’s World Qualifier Final is…

1. WINNER: Neiel Israel
2. Runner-up: Mckendy Fils-Aimé
Eliminated after three rounds:
3. Bobby Crawford
4. RebeccaLynn Gualtieri
Eliminated after two rounds:
5. Marshall Gillson
6. John Pinkham
Eliminated after one round:
7. Nora Meiners
8. Chloé Cunha

Congratulations to Neiel, already a member of the 2016 Nationals-bound Boston Poetry Slam Team, who will represent us in competition this October in the American Southwest! (For more info on the tournament, you can watch the still-under-construction page at iwps.poetryslam.com).

A huge thanks to all our slammers, star-power bout-manager Tom Slavin, king of arithmetic Kieran Collier, and, of course, our five remarkably consistent judges, who held it down for a long and glorious slam.

Next week: YES, we’ve been waiting for months and months for Fatimah Asghar to come and feature for us, and it’s finally time! Fati will be in town from Chicago for May 25, and then –get this– Omaha’s Matt Mason will at last feature for us on June 1. Open slams (those qualify for the 2017 team slams) will be held on both nights. Come on out!

Tips from the Bar: the Bartender Has Been Sampling His Own Wares

Write a poem about something you often, perhaps even usually, write a poem about.

Now: insert Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Good luck!

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 18, 2015: World Qualifier Final

The Boston Poetry Slam will kick off our Summer of Slam a little bit early this year with the second and final night of the annual World Qualifier: the final four poems (of a six-poem series) to select the Boston Poetry Slam’s sole representative to the 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam! This year’s IWPS will take place in Flagstaff, Ariz. from October 12-15, and our World Qualifier slam winner will be entered into the event.

Our roster for the show is ready! The following poets have qualified to slam in Finals, and the order of the first round will be as follows:

1. Chloé Cunha
2. RebeccaLynn Gualtieri
3. Mckendy Fils-Aimé
4. Nora Meiners
5. Bobby Crawford
6. Neiel Israel
7. John Pinkham
8. Marshall Gillson
Invited to sacrifice: Zeke Russell, Emily O’Neill

This winner-take-all competition features the top eight finishers from the May 4 World Qualifier Speed Slam. A four-round night, including one limit-breaking 4-minute round, will culminate in a head-to-head finals to determine who will represent the BPS in the American Southwest!

For more details, you can also check out the full rules and format for the World Qualifier Series.

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. An slightly shortened open mic begins at 8:00 and the slam begins at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5; proceeds will go toward funding the World Qualifier winner’s trip to IWPS in Phoenix, Arizona this October.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Oh, we know: some of you have been waiting for all of 2016 for Anis Mojgani to come to the Cantab. And yes, we all held on through bitter cold, and driving rain, and that thing that happens on the first seventy-degree day where the heat turns on in the bar for some reason… And we were amply rewarded! Anis brought his latest work, the illustrated Pocketknife Bible to the stage, and interleaved its rich, child-voiced dream sequences with performative mash-ups of some of his best-known work. V. beautiful, v. exactly what we needed.

You might have noticed: The Pocketknife Bible is a pretty heavy book, and, due to its beautiful full-color illustrations, hefts a heavier price tag ($25) as well, which meant Anis only brought us a few and sold out rather quickly! SOLUTION: click through over at Write Bloody Publishing to buy The Pocketknife Bible from the famously independent Powell’s Books.

After Anis sold out of books, of course, we slammed! This past Wednesday marked the first open slam to qualify poets for the 2017 slam team selection process. With only four poets slamming, everyone was in for at least two rounds, but we could only take two to the final: Evan Cutts came loaded for slam on his last night in town before next semester, but Neiel Israel, reigning champ of the 2016 team series, took him down by just 0.1 points. Seems like a good omen for the competitiveness of our upcoming season if we’ve ever heard of one. Congrats to Neiel –and we’ll see Evan in the fall!

Next week: it’s our last big slam show until 4×4 team slams starts in June… Get ready for World Qualifier Final, wherein we welcome the top eight indy slammers to a grandly difficult obstacle course of literary greatness. Chloé Cunha, RebeccaLynn Gualtieri, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Nora Meiners, Bobby Crawford, Neiel Israel, John Pinkham, and Marshall Gillson will be cut to six, then four, then two in a head-to-head final to determine who will represent the Cantab in Flagstaff this October! Pack $5 for the increased cover charge (it’s the last fundraiser until June 22, we promise), and come get involved in selecting who will represent YOU at the 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam.

Tips from the Bar: The Great Cover-Up

Tip from the bar for Wednesday, May 11, 2016 (by Adam Stone)

Tip from the bar for Wednesday, May 11, 2016 (by Adam Stone)

Write about a shocking or embarrassing surprise, but focus on the least personal, least interesting detail.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 11, 2016: Anis Mojgani

Anis Mojgani, champion of all the things. Photo by Natalie Seebooth.

Anis Mojgani, champion of all the things. Photo by Natalie Seebooth.

Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion, winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, and multiple-time TEDx Speaker. He has been awarded residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, AIR Serenbe, and the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program. Anis has performed at numerous universities, festivals, and venues around the globe and has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in the pages of such journals as Rattle, Forklift Ohio, Paper Darts, andThrush.

A founding member of the no longer touring Poetry Revival, Anis is also the author of three poetry collections, all published by Write Bloody Publishing: Songs From Under the River, The Feather Room, and Over the Anvil We Stretch. A visual artist as well, his latest book, The Pocketknife Bible, is a fully illustrated poetry-novella. Originally from New Orleans, Anis lives in Oregon. You can learn more at Anis’ home page, the piano farm.

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, May 4, 2016

Wednesdays are the best, folks. What better way to spend Star Wars Day than by watching an epic battle of the most core representations of good and evil, presented through good poetry and… Actually, all the poetry was pretty good. A diabolical dozen slammers turned out last night for the season’s shortest epic: a two-round speed slam with just 2-minute and 1-minute slam rounds. After sacrifices from Adam Stone and Austin Hendricks, the poets faced off with their three-minutes-or-less of poetry, and when the dust cleared, the standings were:

1. Marshall Gillson 51.7
2. (tie) John Pinkham 51.2
2. (tie) Neiel Israel 51.2
4. Bobby Crawford 49.6
5. (tie) Nora Meiners 49.2
5. (tie) Mckendy Fils-Aimé 49.2
7. RebeccaLynn Gualtieri 49.0
8. Chloé Cunha 48.4

9. Emily O’Neill
10. Zeke Russell

11. Ed Wilkinson
12. Meaghan Ford

Poets in bold will advance to the four-round Finals on May 18, and those in italics will be invited to sacrifice. The first round on May 18 will be seeded in order of last night’s finish, from high to low; if you’re wondering how we manage ties, the poet who earned their total first (by going earlier in the final round) is considered to have the higher score (thus earning a later spot on May 18).

Congratulations to all our hard-working poets, and special thanks to our talented bout manager, Tom Slavin, and most deadpan on-stage scorekeeper, Kieran Collier.

Next week: we’ll have a brief interlude from slam with the pretty-much-retired-but-still-champion-of-all-things-slam Anis Mojgani. Yes, this will sell out, YES, this show will be the bomb, YES, get here early if you want a seat! See you soon!

Tips from the Bar: Emily Likes Coffee

Go somewhere public. Listen for a conversation you wouldn’t want to join; maybe it’s too intense, too personal, too weird, or too mundane. Now poem a poem where you insert yourself into the conversation.

BONUS PROMPT: Emily likes coffee. Write a poem about coffee.

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