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Cantab Recap for Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What an October night, folks! Local, national, and international all-stars all took a turn on our dingy little basement stage for an exceptionally excellent literary time. Our headliner was Marty McConnell, in town from Chicago en route to her booking at the Dodge Poetry Festival this year. Marty brought us a selection of work seemingly designed to speak to last night’s debate (yowza), including a few pieces to show off her still-impressive performance chops. The other half of our rockin’ double-bill, of course, was Mohamed Hassan, 2015 New Zealand national slam champ and currently ranked 23rd in the world after last week’s Individual World Poetry Slam; Mohamed brought us a stellar ten minutes that made it easy for us to see how he’s achieved international recognition. He’ll be the featured poet tonight at Slam Free or Die in Manchester, by the way, so get yourself together for a trip north if you want to catch this traveler before he returns to the other side of the world!

So it was a heckuva night even before 11:00 p.m., you know, but do you think we were ready to quit after all that goodness? Nopenopenope: instead, we rushed headlong into the Champion of Champions slam, where Ron, RebeccaLynn, Zeke Russell, Emily Taylor, and Adam Stone all dared to take the stage against Jess “Reign of Terror” Rizkallah, our fearless champion since August 10. After a two-round puppyfight (cuter than regular dogs, but with pointier teeth), RebeccaLynn and Zeke rose to the top of the pack of champs; RebeccaLynn dispatched her opponent within a casual two minutes and claimed the season championship! That wasn’t all, though: unsatisfied with the mere seasonal title, RebeccaLynn challenged Jess to the one-and-done all-new-poem final-final championship round… And after two brandy-new poems hit the stage, Jess Rizkallah was again our victor. Congrats again to RebeccaLynn for a top-notch season win, and to Champion Jess for retaining the venue’s greatest title.

After all that: can we do more poetry? Can we? WE CAN AND SHALL: next week we’ll welcome Zeke Russell, 2016 team member and longtime purveyor of Short Poems About Dead People, to our stage with a ghost-heavy set in time for the end of October. Go ahead, pack up your poems about complicated mourning and friends become strangers become ghosts: it’s the right time, the right featured poet, and just the right open mic to come peek beyond the veil.