Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 18, 2017: Team Selection Preliminaries (Second Heat)

The time has come! The Cantab’s Team Selection Slams have always been the venue’s biggest, wildest poetry slams of the season. Up to TWENTY-FOUR POETS have qualified to slam in the preliminary heats, which will be presented as a one-two punch over two Wednesdays this January.

This event is the second prelim pool of two! The following poets will compete tonight:

  • Kylie Noelle
  • Claudia Wilson
  • RebeccaLynn
  • Kieran Collier
  • Allison Truj
  • Kai Bobbi
  • Emily Taylor
  • Austin Hendricks
  • Mckendy Fils-Aimé
  • sacrifices: JR Mahung, Cassandra de Alba

The rest of the field will have already competed at the January 11 heat. Top six poets advance to the March 1 Semi-Finals!

Team Selection Slams are a three-session affair for Cantab poets, with the top five poets after seven rounds comprising the venue’s National Poetry Slam Team. The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team will travel to the National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado this August.

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. A SHORTENED open mic begins at 8:00 and the slam begins at approximately 9:30. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5; proceeds will go toward funding the team’s trip to the National Poetry Slam in August.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We’re back, Cantabbers! Actually, you’re back: the house was packed this week for the first heat of the Team Selection Slam Preliminaries, and no wonder… The field was strong and the slam was hot. Without further ado, we present the results of the nine-poet prelims:

1 (t). Neiel Israel 55.0
1 (t). John Pinkham 55.0
3. Adam Stone 54.4
4. Brandon Melendez 53.4
5. Justin Jiménez 53.1
6 (t). Ron Prudent 52.9
6 (t). Zeke Russell 52.9

7. Meaghan Ford
DNS: Jess Rizkallah. Get well soon, Jess!

Top SIX poets (yes, including ties) are invited to advance to Semi-Finals on March 1.

Grand thanks to our two sacrificial poets, Nora Meiners and the ever-timely Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, and a highly consistent fivesome of judges: Jackie, Evan, Steve, Amanda, and Lisa!

Next week: we’re back (again) with the second half of the field, nine more poets fighting it out for Semis. This Wednesday’s nine will be Kylie Noelle, Claudia Wilson, Kieran Collier, Allison Truj, RebeccaLynn, Kai Bobbi, Emily Taylor, Austin Hendricks, and Mckendy Fils-Aimé, and yes, we really have to lose three of those competitors. It’s a $5 night next week to raise money for the 2017 to go to Nationals in Denver, so pack a five-spot, your listening hat, and a friend to judge and we’ll see you there!

Tips from the Bar: You Didn’t Ask to Be Born

Unfairly blame a person or inanimate object for something that’s gone wrong in your life that it/they cannot possibly be responsible for.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 11, 2017: Team Selection Preliminaries (First Heat)

The time has come! The Cantab’s Team Selection Slams have always been the venue’s biggest, wildest poetry slams of the season. Up to TWENTY-FOUR POETS have qualified to slam in the preliminary heats, which will be presented as a one-two punch over two Wednesdays this January.

This event is only the first prelim pool of two! The following poets will compete tonight:

  • Justin Jiménez
  • Neiel Israel
  • Ron
  • John Pinkham
  • Meaghan Ford
  • Jess Rizkallah
  • Brandon Melendez
  • Zeke Russell
  • Adam Stone
  • sacrifices: Evan Cutts, Nora Meiners

The rest of the field will compete at the January 18 heat. Top six poets advance to the March 1 Semi-Finals!

Team Selection Slams are a three-session affair for Cantab poets, with the top five poets after seven rounds comprising the venue’s National Poetry Slam Team. The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team will travel to the National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado this August.

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. A SHORTENED open mic begins at 8:00 and the slam begins at approximately 9:30. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5; proceeds will go toward funding the team’s trip to the National Poetry Slam in August.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy new calendar year, Cantabbers! What a joyous start to 2017: a super-solid and thoughtful open mic turned out for a huge audience, all ramping up to see a grand feature from Nkosi Nkululeko. This Callaloo fellow, Pushcart Prize nominee, and eminent NYC slammer most assuredly messed with the minds and vocabularies of those present in the best possible way. Thanks to Nkosi for coming to make our first night of the year so celebratory… And for sticking around for Last Chance Slam full of wicked surprises. Six poets took the stage hoping for a chance to rep at next week’s prelims, and the finalists came down relative newcomer Justin Jiménez vs. relative oldtimer jeff taylor. Sorry, jeff, but it looks like a new year means a new slam winner, too: congratulations to Justin, who earned $10 and a callback for his fresh and freshly delivered work.

But wait, you say: was that really it? The very Last Chance Slam to qualify for the Team Selection Slam Preliminaries on January 11 and January 18?!

You bet yer sweet potatoes it was, glitches, and you know what that means: next week marks the first of two preliminary heats to begin narrowing down our eighteen active competitors for the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team. You’ll want to come early and settle in for two rounds of poetry from Jess Riz, Neiel Israel, John Pinkham, Zeke Russell, Ron, Brandon Melendez, Adam Stone, Meaghan Ford, and Last Chance winner Justin Jiménez.

Remember: it’s a $5 cover next week and our open mic will be shorter than usual to allow for 18 poems in the slam! Come early if you want to sign up, or, even better, come early to JUDGE the 10pm competition and get a direct say in who will advance in the 2017 team selection series.

Tips from the Bar: Vagoo Zeebrah

Write a poem based on a word you mispronounced (“vague,” “zebra”) for an inexcusable amount of time.

EXTRA BONUS BRAND NEW 2017 PROMPT:
Explain the following sign: “Due to last week’s incident, there are no more Oreos allowed in the library.”

POSTPONED: Moonlighting (January): A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series

Our monthly LGBTA+ series, Moonlighting, is on hiatus for January. Click here for more information about this recurring show.

Moonlighting icon by Emily Carroll.

Moonlighting icon by Emily Carroll.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 4, 2017: Nkosi Nkululeko

Nkosi Nkululeko, NYC 2016 Youth Poet Laureate. Photo by Gaungpyo Hong.

Nkosi Nkululeko, NYC 2016 Youth Poet Laureate. Photo by Gaungpyo Hong.

Nkosi Nkululeko, the 2016 New York City Youth Poet Laureate, is a Callaloo fellow, multi-nominated for Best of Net, and nominated for Independent Best American Poetry as well as the Pushcart Prize. He is a finalist for the 2016 Winter Tangerine Awards for poetry and his work can be found in [PANK] Magazine, VINYL, No Token, and other publications. He lives in Harlem, New York.

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. The Last Chance Slam, the final open poetry slam to qualify for the 2017 Team Selection Slams, will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It was a big night at the Cantab to close out the calendar year, folks, wherein a murderer’s row of slam winners lined the back bar, all awaiting a chance at the title held by Jess Rizkallah. First, though, one of our past Champions of Champions took the stage for a feature; Zanne Langlois drove down from the frozen north to bring us a year-end of set of nearly all-new work, plus an incredible chapbook of thirty prompts designed to kick-start your writing for 2017. What an excellent gift!

Once Zanne’s feature closed (and she ran out of books), we moved on to the long-awaited slam. Five slammers had braved the cold Cambridge night to come for the title of Jess Riz, reigning champ back in town from her program in NYC. After two rounds of slam, Meaghan Ford and Kylie Noelle rose to the top of the game; Kylie defeated Meaghan in the head-to-head final round to take the season championship, then let her $50 prize ride to challenge Jess… Taking the big win, the $100, and the title! Congratulates to Kylie, our newest Champion of Champions of the Cantab Lounge.

Next week: we get 2017 started off right with Nkosi Nkululeko, the 2016 NYC Youth Poet Laureate. We’ll also hold the Last Chance Slam, your very last shot to get into the 2017 Team Selection Slams, which kick off on January 11 and January 18. Gird your poems! We’ll see you next year!

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, December 28, 2016: Zanne Langlois and the Champion of Champions Poetry Slam with Jess Rizkallah

Zanne Langlois, Portland (Maine!) poet and former Boston Poetry Slam Champion of Champions.

Zanne Langlois, Portland (Maine!) poet and former Boston Poetry Slam Champion of Champions.

Zanne Langlois lives in Portland, Maine, where she teaches high school English and organizes poetry slams and workshops for high school students in the greater Portland area. She holds a BA in English from Tufts University and a M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education and has the student debt to prove it. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Three Drops from a Cauldron, The Cafe Review, The Fourth River, Off the Coast, Rattle Poets Respond, Yellow Chair Review, Third Point Press, Menacing Hedge, and English Journal, as well as in the anthologies Passion and Pride: Poets in Support of Equality and Word Portland’s Be Wilder. Her work has been nominated for both Best of the Net and Independent Best American Poetry, and her piece “The Chambers of a Gun” is available on the Button Poetry Channel.

Jess Rizkallah performing at the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Valerie Jane Kwok.

Jess Rizkallah performing at the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Valerie Jane Kwok.

In addition to featuring in numerous venues in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, Zanne competed in Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2012 and at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in 2013 and 2015. She is also a former Boston Poetry Slam Champion of Champions, which remains her proudest poetry achievement.

Tonight, our last Wednesday of the year, also marks the final night in our current 8×8 poetry slam series! Following Zanne’s feature, eight slam winners will slam off for the season championship and the opportunity to challenge Jess Rizkallah, the current reigning Champion of Champions.


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.

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