Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 22, 2013: Marshall Gillson

Marshall Gillson, rapper/nerd/poet.

Marshall Gillson, rapper/nerd/poet.

Marshall “Gripp” Gillson is a nerd by day and a rapper/poet by day also. He has released four independent LPs, two mixtapes, and several compilation albums. Through glassEyeballs, an independent record label and publishing company, he released “Head in the Cloud” in February 2012. He has been an active slam poet since 2008 as a member of both Atlanta-area slam teams and the Salt City Slam team. He placed second in the annual Utah State Arts Festival Slam in 2008 and logged a top-ten finish in the 2009 Arkansas Grand Slam. His crowning achievement, however, is his first place finish in the 2011 National Poetry Slam Magic: The Gathering tournament. In his spare time, he enjoys arguing, pontificating, and writing biographies in the third person.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 15

We had a packed house last night for a really solid open mic, featuring poets new and old and including a special spotlight from London birthday girl Rachel Rose Reid. Then we had a sweet feature from April Penn! Our beloved every-week open mic standout brought us a solid selection of some lesser-heard, longer work, as well as a brand-new chapbook (Notebook girl) for us to enjoy. Awesome! Our slam was packed with really excellent work: at the end of the night, Ken Green rose to the top with Zeke Russell, with Zeke edging out newcomer Ken in the final round.

Next week: Marshall Gillson started in Providence, moved down to Atlanta, and then came to live with us in Boston… On the way he developed his performance poetry voice, hip-hop oeuvre, and a host of nerdy references that he secretly really wants you to get. Come hang out with us for his feature, sandwiched right between our weekly open mic and an open 8×8 poetry slam.

Tips from the Bar: Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

Ruin a joke with your poem: start with the punchline, then go on from there.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 15, 2013: April Penn

April Penn, local open mic favorite.

April Penn, local open mic favorite.

April Penn grew up wanting to be Harriet the Spy and didn’t quit her life of secretive journal writing until she learned about the Boston Poetry Slam from the First Night Festival. Thereafter, she began frequenting the open mic and joined the 365 blog. Inspired by writers such as Michelle Tea and Eileen Myles, her work explores the intersection between memoir and feminism. She is a founding member of the Brighton Word Factory and has combined poetry and activism, featuring at Occupy Boston and UMass Amherst’s series on the arts of protest.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 8

We’ve actually been waiting years to welcome back 2011 Boston Poetry Slam Team member Rachel McKibbens. One of our favorite writers, performers, and home-team slammers, Rachel put together a remarkable set for us, absolutely packed with poetry, emotion, and that feeling of reward that comes with new ideas. As always, her feature left us tingly, weepy, and energized to write. We followed up with a solid slam where Melissa Newman-Evans pulled out all the stops to defeat a very strong Dave “Snake Eyes” McKenna in the final round, earning the ten dollars and the first qualifying spot for the 2014 slam team. What a great night!

Next week: we welcome long-time local favorite April Penn to the feature slot, and our 8×8 open slam series continues. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Mom Says Hi

Revisiting an old prompt from last year: write a poem you are afraid your parents would write about you.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 8, 2013: Rachel McKibbens

Rachel McKibbens, WOWPS champion.

Rachel McKibbens, WOWPS champion.

Poet, activist, playwright and essayist Rachel McKibbens is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of the critically acclaimed volume of poetry, Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009). Regarded as one of the most dynamic speakers in the country, McKibbens is a legend within the poetry slam community, noted for her accomplishments both on and off the stage: she is a nine-time National Poetry Slam team member, has appeared on eight NPS final stages, coached the New York louderARTS poetry slam team to three consecutive final stage appearances, was the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion and the 2011 National Underground Poetry Slam individual champion.

For four years Rachel taught poetry through the Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and continues to teach poetry and creative writing and give lectures across the country as an advocate for mental illness, gender-equality and victims of violence and domestic abuse. She has been published widely and her second book of poetry, Into the Dark and Emptying Field, is slated to be released in the fall of 2013.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Moonlighting Recap for Thursday, May 2

The second-ever Moonlighting, Boston Poetry Slam’s new monthly LGBTQ reading, was a success, thanks to a high caliber open-mic and the formidable presence of nationally renowned poet Tatyana Brown. Those in attendance were wowed by never-before-seen work as well as familiar hits as Brown wielded a rare range of emotion, blending poignancy, humor, and uncommonly distilled confession to the stage. Now heading into its third month, Moonlighting is proving to be a top-notch safe space for the LGBTQ community and their allies to enjoy and relate to one another through poetry, before sitting back and experiencing some of the art’s most talented performers!

Moonlighting takes place on the first Thursday of every month at Fazenda Coffee Roasters, 3710 Washington St. in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston. An open mic begins at approximately 7:00 p.m. and the headliner follows the open mic. The show is all-ages with a suggested $3 donation. The next Moonlighting show will take place on Thursday, June 6, featuring Casey Rocheteau.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 1

Fifteen poets packed into the slam this past Wednesday in the hope of becoming the next Boston Poetry Slam representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam this October! With only eight slots available in the May 29 World Qualifier Finals, poets were pulling out all the stops… But they only had two rounds and a total of three minutes –that’s a two-minute round and a one-minute round– to do it.

We kicked off with stellar sacrifices from Nora Meiners and Tom Slavin, then we were off for another thirty (!) speedy poems! When the dust cleared, some very decisive, independent judges had made it clear who they wanted to see advance. Final rankings after two rounds were:

  • 1. Jade Sylvan* 52.7
  • 2. Sean Patrick Mulroy 52.6
  • 3. Omoizele Okoawo 52.1
  • 4. Bobby Crawford 52
  • 5. Kieran Collier* 50.6
  • 6. Michael Monroe 50.2
  • 7. Sophia Holtz 49.6
  • 8. Zanne Langlois 49.3
  • 9. Meaghan Ford 48.9
  • 10. Ed Wilkinson 48.7
  • Nathan Comstock
  • Eddy Martinez
  • Zeke Russell
  • Brenna Kleiman
  • Dave McKenna

*Jade Sylvan and Kieran Collier have dropped from Finals, bringing the ninth- and tenth-ranked poets back into the competition.

Thanks so much to everyone who competed, and also to our judges: Chris and Michelle, Andrea and Aradice, Greg, David, and Charlotte! Remember, we’ll be back with those top eight poets on May 29 for the World Qualifier Finals, where we’ll go four rounds to select just one poet to represent us in October.

But wait: what happened to the rest of May? Don’t worry, folks… There is lots of poetry happening between now and then, starting up with Rachel McKibbens this coming Wednesday. We’ll also kick off the first slam in the latest 8×8 championship series. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Word Choice Malfunction

Consider one or more pick-up lines that might reveal too much about the speaker.