Of all the places to have been this past Wednesday night, we can think of none better than the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge. If you missed the sold-out show, it probably sounds to you like we are just bragging, but it was a truly excellent night for poetry. An open mic with tons of new work from newly resolute poets gave way to a first-timer featuring in the city, Columbus’ Hanif Abdurraqib. Hanif’s set ranged beautifully through the small and large tragedies of youth and aging, much of it framed by his vast knowledge of music and lyrics. The set ended with an intimate, unplugged experience, with Hanif flipped the perspective of the room for a gently grand finale. If you’re one of the new fans he made that night, you’ll want to check out the schedules at Northampton Poetry and the Emerson Poetry Project to see if you can catch him at another show later this month.
The night closed with a rockin’ Last Chance Slam, where eight poets fought for the one remaining spot in next week’s huge team slam! The final round came down to Portland’s Ellyn Touchette and local Michael Monroe: Michael eked out a win and will get the final berth at the prelims.
Team Selection Preliminaries, you say? Already? You betcha! This coming Wednesday, January 22, marks the HYOOGESTT SLAM IN THE CITY, or possibly ever… Twenty-four poets are qualified to each slam two rounds to see who will advance to the February semi-finals. Heads-up: our open mic will be shorter that night, but we will be in dire need of objective judges for the show, so you might consider participating in that capacity for us instead. Peep the list of qualified poets if you’re wondering what you’re in for that week: it’s gonna be a doozy!