Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 29, 2013: World Qualifier Finals

It’s the end of our speed slam series, folks, and you know what that means… It’s time for the annual World Qualifier series, a two-night, six-poem series to select the Boston Poetry Slam’s sole representative to the 2013 Individual World Poetry Slam! This year’s IWPS will take place in Spokane, Washington from October 3-5, and our World Qualifier slam winner will be entered into the event.

The second and final night of the World Qualifier will feature the top eight poets from the May 1 World Qualifier Speed Slam. A four-round night, including one limit-breaking 4-minute round, will culminate in a head-to-head finals to determine who will represent the BPS!

The top eight poets from our May 1 speed slam have been invited to compete. Poets will be eliminated in each round, but here’s the order for the first round of eight poets:

1. Ed Wilkinson
2. Meaghan Ford
3. Zanne Langlois
4. Sophia Holtz
5. Michael Monroe
6. Bobby Crawford
7. Omoizele Okoawo
8. Sean Patrick Mulroy
sacrificial poets: Eddy Martinez, Janae Johnson

For more details, you can also check out the full rules and format for the World Qualifier Series.

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. An slightly shortened open mic begins at 8:00 and the slam begins at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5; proceeds will go toward funding the World Qualifier winner’s trip to IWPS in Spokane, Washington this October.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 22

Hot damn! Marshall “Gripp” Gillson showed off all his poetry chops last night, ranging from short vignettes to slam work to some all-out a capella rap. If you missed your chance to grab one of his free mini-chapbooks, you can still purchase his album, Head in the Clouds, at his personal website. The seven-poet-slam got weird fast, with slammers cutting loose every which way: Deif Maquena signed up phonetically in the hopes of breaking the Snake Eyes Curse, but was dispatched in the final round by a livestock-hating, randomly Russian-accented Sean Patrick Mulroy. Money well spent indeed!

Next week: WHOA, WE ARE TOTALLY PICKING OUR IWPS REP! The top eight slammers from May 1 (click here to see the list) will slam off in four rounds, including one long-form four-minute round, to see who we’ll be sending to the Individual World Poetry Slam this October in Spokane, Washington. Remember that it’s a $5 cover to help raise the money for our rep!

Tips from the Bar: Get Off My… Turntable

Write about the people who ruined music forever. (Bonus points for not mentioning Creed or Nickleback.)

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.