Hey folks! It’s Myles, filling in this week. Sorry for being a little long-winded this week but there’s lots of ground to cover!
Last week’s open mic was a beautiful reminder of the importance of community arts spaces as many poems orbited grief, dysphoria, diaspora, and difficulty reckoning with the limitations of being alive. Particular shout out to Nayeli for holding down hosting for a very emotionally heavy section of the mic, and holding every poet with the grace and attention they deserve. Eben Bein trusted us with work honoring a friend and band-mate who died tragically last weekend in a motorcycle accident. Kai Wallin brought us a poem about the perseverance of their best friend. And Sam Feinstein, to Michael and I’s delight, brought a poem about Allston-Brighton, which included a child pointing to a dead rat and saying — and I will never get this out of my head — “that rat got oof’d.”
A sort of grief, but not really, because becoming part of a poetry scene means never really saying goodbye: Dawn Gabriel and Sam Cha have officially moved to Brooklyn and will no longer be, respectively, co-host and tech extraordinaire. Dawn and Sam were instrumental in bringing our show back from the dead — in fact, it was their idea and their quick thinking that re-opened the room. I am honored to be left with Dawn’s legacy as showrunner and will try my best to assume her Disappointed Mom Energy when moments call for it.
Lastly, we saw our first-ever CHAOS VS. ORDER SLAM. This was a silly idea that got slapped together within the last month, and I could not be more pleased at the way it went. Order brought haiku, sonnets, sestinas, and odes; chaos brought our usual-recapper Amy Argentar carrying the couch onto center stage and reading a poem upside-down, Shawn “spreading” (speed reading) in a manner rivaling professional auctioneers, and newcomer Vaughn bringing us an original song with portable speaker as accompaniment, to name a few antics. I was just happy to have an excuse to bring out a particularly infamous sestina of mine from 2018 that was accidentally uploaded and subsequently deleted from Button Poetry. (If you weren’t there … sorry, missed your chance.)
Two Lines of the Week, both, I think, encapsulating the spirit of the night:
“I lost you, but look what I found!” -Jasmine
“What is a tunnel but a bridge to another entrance?” -Ryan
See you next week for a feature by Essmaa Litim! Her bio is below:
Essmaa Litim is a multi-disciplinary artist and activist. She is a poet, author, and community organizer who has been promoting change and raising awareness on societal issues like disparities within the autistic community, racial equity, and gentrification through her writing for many years. Essmaa released her first book in 2021, Speechless, in an effort to raise awareness on the topics of immigration, Autism, and the intersectionality of adversity between the two. She has since collaborated with organizations like AANE, Ivy Street School, and Tasium to bring the annual event Art in Autism at the Bruce C. Bolling Center which debuted last Summer. As a first-generation American, Essmaa continues to work hard to help build the community that helped build her through believing it, speaking it, and being it.
All shows take 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). The show is $4 / 21+ (ID/Proof of Vaccination required) and doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 PM and the feature begins at approximately 10:00 PM.