Cantabbers, for the last Wednesday show of the year, we were super-proud to bring you a feature from a not-so-long-ago local favorite, David Winter. Now a resident of New York City, David returned home for the season and brought us the impeccably crafted, carefully delivered poems that have always landed so beautifully in our listening room. What an excellent reunion to celebrate the end of the year.
Following David’s feature was our first-ever Sestina Slam– a two-sestina, all-form competition that brought in eight hard-thinking writers and five very serious judges, including special guest celebrity judge Tom Daley. Emily O’Neill and Chloé Cunha kicked in the door as a dual sacrifice to get the judges in the mood for the sestina sound; Chloé also kicked in the clock with a wicked time penalty, assessed to the angry dismay of a vastly entertained crowd. Some exceptional work came from all of our readers, including Gemma Cooper-Novack (an early sign-up for the slam and one of the event’s inspirations), Jade Sylvan (right in the midst of a sestina-writing frenzy for a related project of her own), and Patrick S. (who’s been successfully slamming sestinas for years).
Some of the night’s most memorable moments commuted to us from Slam Free or Die locals: Mckendy Fils-Aimé made the strategically questionable but admirably nerdy decision to slam a sestina about Pokemon battling, whereas Christopher Clauss achieved the second round only to be eliminated after his nuanced piece about the Mandela memorial sign language interpreter. The big story of the night, however, had to be Jonah Comstock and Nathan Comstock: after drawing one another in the last pairing in the first round, each presented carefully crafted work about Mos Eisley and Harry Potter… Only to tie and be called back to the stage to present two more sestinas.
Nathan took the first round win and eventually advanced to the final round, where he met up with a crowd-walking Sean Patrick Mulroy in the final dramatic pairing. Nathan won the title for most poems read (four to Sean’s three), but Sean took home the high score and the $10. What a night!
We’ll be on break for the 25th of December this year, but don’t worry: the Boston Poetry Slam will be back with a vengeance (not exactly like Die Hard, which is Carlos Williams‘ favorite Christmas movie, by the way) before the calendar year is over. You can catch Kevin Spak producing our evening show at First Night on Tuesday, December 31… Then swing by for the return of our Wednesday series on Wednesday, January 1 with Stevie Edwards… And finish ringing in your New Year right with Moonlighting on January 2. Looks like a grand year for poetry already!