Cantab Recap for Wednesday, August 15

There was a line around the block last night for our little dive bar poetry show! Was it because people heard the open mic would be packed with great work? Or did they know that featured poet Ross Gay was going to be an exceptional feature? Or perhaps they heard that the slam would fill up fast with folks looking to qualify for the 2013 Boston Poetry Slam Team–

Whatever it was, no one left the house disappointed last night. First, our open mic featured first-time locals and travelers from as far away from New Zealand! Then Ross Gay was the perfect counterpoint to the boisterous open, settling us all down with some good, old-fashioned simple stories unsimply told: his way of smooth-talking a poem from one subject to another with such joy and color had us alternately standing up to applaud and sitting on our hands to keep from missing a single moment. He actually ran out of books, but if you still want to grab one, you can pick up Bringing the Shovel Down online.

After Ross’ feature, the slam made a fabulous finish to the whole night, with some slammers gunning for the win with big performance and others sneaking into the judge’s heart with quieter formal poetry… After surviving a tie in the first round, Dawn Gabriel made it to the final round, only to tie again with Mckendy Fils-Aimé in a spontaneous last-round pantoum-off! Mckendy eventually took the tiebreaker round, prompting a whoop of excitement from Dawn, whose loss frees her up to slam again next week.

Next week, by the way, we’ll have the Chicago editor-in-chief of MUZZLE Magazine in the house: Stevie Edwards will perform a full feature set. The night will close with another open poetry slam in the 8×8 series.