We’ve arrived, folks: with the good weather and empty bar-and-coffeehouse stools in Boston comes the summer of slam, our annual region-wide ramp-up to the National Poetry Slam, this year taking place in Denver, Colorado. Seven New England teams represent at NPS this year, and four of them faced off at the Cantab last night! When the dust cleared, the final scores looked like this:
1. House Slam 110.1
2. Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge 106.1
3. Providence Poetry Slam 102.2
4. Northampton Poetry Slam 97.9
Of course, you know the scores don’t tell the whole story: after a blisteringly energetic spiel by host Kieran Collier, and a sacrifice by John Pinkham to test the time-and-scorekeeping skills of mathinatrix Cassandra de Alba, the teams took the stage with grace, power, craft, humor, and a really cool smattering of brand-new work.
In fourth after drawing the A spot came the rookies of Northampton, a freewheeling foursome of gentle narrative, cutting commentary, and honed slamming presence; this particular crew will be entering national competition for the first time this year, and we are proud to host their first warm-up outing in the city. Providence Poetry Slam, known both for their precocious youth poetry scene and late-blooming start in the slam season, drew the D and held their own bringing complex on-page work to the stage; gird yourself for when they unleash their true performance power later in the season, when they return to slam with us on July 12.
The home team pulled the dreaded B spot and despite a slow-scoring start to the night, pulled the top two individual scores of the night (and three indy round wins), good enough for a second-place finish. Finally, the night’s big winners came from the House Slam, who brought not only the strong individual work we’ve come to expect from our across-the-river neighbors, but two brandy-new group poems seemingly designed specifically to blow the judges’ minds. Congratulations to everyone on a night well slammed!
Looking for more 4x4s, and (dare we say it) more group work? Check it: we’re back in just two weeks with another 4×4 that will include the home team, House, and the northside luminaries of Slam Free or Die.
In the meantime, don’t forget that Jon Sands will be our June 14 feature next week, including a 5:30pm generative workshop, open to all, for a $5-$10 sliding scale that includes admission to the show. Hope to see you there!