Tips from the Bar: Seven Percent of What?

In honor of Adam Stone’s feature this week, Sue Savoy presented a prose poem about a retail situation that built from the mundane to the totally absurd. What everyday story could you tell about your life that takes on epic proportions when brought to the stage?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 21: Adam Stone

Bartender-feature Adam Stone. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Bartender-feature Adam Stone. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Adam Stone is an eleven-time competitor at the National Poetry Slam, two-time performer at the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the local Dirty Haiku Champion for 2012. A prolific writer and consummate performer, Adam has provided a weekly writing prompt at the Boston Poetry Slam since 2010, and coordinated a related workshop at the 2011 National Poetry Slam. He is the founder and leader of the Friday Night Sometimes Writing But Mostly Drinking Group, and the sole editor of the Boston Poetry Slam’s twentieth anniversary anthology.

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 poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, November 14

The heat was on in the Cantab this past Wednesday, folks! Literally (since it was the coldest Wednesday of the year so far) but also figuratively, of course… Chris August lit up the stage with his brilliant personality and powerful storytelling, showing just how he took the championship at the Individual World Poetry Slam back in 2011. Official photographer Rich Beaubien was in the house to capture just a little of the action.

Chris August performs at the Cantab Lounge on November 14. Photo by Rich Beaubien.

Chris August performs at the Cantab Lounge on November 14. Photo by Rich Beaubien.

The slam was another hot one as well, wherein Brenna Kleiman took top honors over Dave McKenna and grabbed one of the last chances left to qualify for the 2013 Team Selection Slams.

Next week: bartender Adam Stone has spent the year putting together an amazing anthology for the Cantab Lounge, spanning over twenty years of poetry performed on our little stage. To that end, he’s been reading covers on the mic all year– and hoarding his own poetry, we suspect! Come see him break out some new-to-you work, plus finish the night with an open slam in the 8×8 series.

Tips from the Bar: Mediocre Genie

The Mediocre Genie will grant you any small wish you want… To a point. For instance, you may achieve the superpower of always catching the bus– as long as you run. What does the Mediocre Genie do for you?

The Encyclopedia Show: Somerville — S1V3: THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM OF COLORS

Encyclopedia Show: Somerville -- S1V3: The Visible Spectrum of COLORS!

Monday, November 19
The Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm St. in Somerville
7pm doors, 8pm-10pm show
all ages, $10/$7 sliding scale

click for Facebook event

The Boston Poetry Slam and Simone Beaubien present the next installment in a new monthly series!

The Encyclopedia Show Somerville is an event franchised from the original series founded in Chicago in 2008, wherein invited artists from a variety of performance disciplines present all-new, original works on sub-topics of a single theme. A recurring cast of hosts and characters welcomes the artists with open arms and minds, while the resident Fact Checker is charged with maintaining the integrity of the Encyclopedic Truth of the show.

Our theme for the October show will be THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM OF COLORS! Presenting all-original guest performances from local artists TBD, plus work from our recurring cast members:

  • Aimee Rose Ranger and Kevin Spak provide deft and earnest CO-HOSTING
  • The Michael J. Epstein Library offers MUSICAL SUPPORT
  • Food writer and American hero Chef Bro encourages you to EAT WITH YOUR EYES
  • And Intern Steve Subrizi may or may not have returned from his October trip to the moon.

Live Fact Checking is reluctantly provided by Jack van Sly from the Institute of Human Knowledge and Hygiene.


This show in our monthly Encylopedia Show: Somerville series takes place at the Davis Square Theatre, 255 Elm St. in Somerville. Doors and the theatre bar open for a pre-show welcome party at 7:00. The show begins promptly at 8:00 and finishes at 10:00, including a short intermission. This is an all ages show! Admission is $10, or $7 for students, teachers, or guests in Prohibition-era dress.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 14, 2012: Chris August

2011 IWPS champ Chris August.

2011 IWPS champ Chris August.

In 2011, Chris August was named the number one ranked performance poet in the United States at the Individual World Poetry Slam held n Cleveland, Ohio. This was the culmination of ten years of involvement in national slam scene, representing Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, DC at the National Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry Slam. In 2012, he left his job as a special educator to pursue poetry full time. Later that year, he represented the United States at the Poetry World Cup in Paris, France where he was ranked second in the world. His latest book, A Life Called Special, is a compilation of his poetry about special needs education.

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 poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, November 7

All right, Cantabbers: who loves the first snow of the year? A hardy bunch of souls unimpressed by the weather came to hang in our dry little basement this week for a feature from Durham native G(eorge) Yamazawa. G brought us a warm selection of southern sound and promised to be back again! Our slam was a hot one, with some surprise eliminations in the early rounds and a final round with two slammers each gunning for their first win: when the smoke cleared, Dave McKenna had fallen to the talents of Jade Sylvan, who took home the ten dollars and a rousing round of applause.

Next week: Chris August, world slam champion, comes up from DC to knock your face off with poetry. We’ll also have another open slam in the 8×8 series. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: No, Adam Did Not Make This Word Up

The Japanese form katuata consists of three lines of 5, 7, and 7 syllables. Two Japanese poetry forms use this form: the mondo and the sedoka. Each present two katuatas: the mondo starts with a katuata that asks a question, then one that answers it, while the sedoka does the same in reverse.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, November 7, 2012: G Yamazawa

G Yamazawa, southern youth-grad performance poet.

G Yamazawa, southern youth-grad performance poet.

At only 21 years old, G(eorge) Yamazawa is widely considered one of the top young poets in the country. Born in Durham, North Carolina and raised in a Buddhist household, G is a two-time Southern Fried Champion, National Poetry Slam finalist, and Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, and has taken his art to venues across the nation including the Sundance Film Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Chicago’s Green Mill. His favorite food is fried chicken, and he hates sushi.

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 poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, October 31

Happy Halloween, everyone! Big thanks to all who came out to celebrate with us this year at the Dead Poets’ Slam. Our open mic was full of a great mix of live poets doing their own work, live poets doing dead poets’ work, and live poets covering each other. Neat! We enjoyed a few costumes and a bunch of great covers, but everyone was waiting excitedly for the night’s feature: four teams of poets performing in character for a Halloween slamstravaganza!

The show kicked off with two bonus sacrificial poets: Meaghan Ford read from Elizabeth Bishop, then Zeke Russell channeled Warren Zevon to give the crowd a sense of the range they’d be seeing for the slam. An exceptionally harsh team of judges –many of whom volunteered to put the smackdown on some dead poets– started the night by leaving a lot of room at the top for the next readers! The opening poets wasted no time putting together big performances for the judges, though: Team Choler’s Adrienne Rich (played by Melissa Newman-Evans) started off by Diving into the Wreck with just a little help from the page, followed by Team Melancholy’s Deborah Digges (Richard Cambridge) going fully off-page and Team Phglematic’s Walt Whitman (Douglas Bishop, natch) working the room like any modern slammer! Team Sanguine’s Pablo Neruda (Nate Leland) closed out with a gratifyingly long piece, and slam was off to a tight start with the Phlegmatics in the lead.

Round two saw a snarky rejoinder to True Love from Wislawska Szymborska (Nora Meiners), a powerfully deconstructed melange of poems from a leather-clad Kathy Acker (April Penn), and rambling and well-read missive from Jack Kerouac (Jack Skiranos). Oscar Wilde (Jade Sylvan), dressed to the nines, closed out the round with the high score, but Acker’s strong effort combined with Rich’s score from the first round served to put Team Choler on top at the halfway point of the slam.

Round three started strong– and weird– with Shel Silverstein (Nate Comstock) taking the high score of the round with the tale of The Bagpipe Who Didn’t Say No. Lynda Hull (Sophia Holtz) introduced herself with Hollywood Jazz, and Charles Bukowski (Sue Savoy) rocked the house with a rambunctious and rude story of… writers’ block, we guess. Sylvia Plath (Brenna Kleiman) finished up the round by eating men like air, which was enough to keep Team Choler in the lead with the Melancholics just behind.

Some of our team’s strategists had obviously been working overtime for round four: Team Melancholy kicked in the door of the final round with a bang when an all-white-clad Emily Dickinson (Tom Daley) took the stage to wild applause: Dickinson would garner the top score of the night, despite a strong effort from Allen Ginsberg (Alexander Nemser), perhaps the most in-character poet of the night! Federico Garcia Lorca (Cassandra de Alba) closed out for Team Choler with a sleep of apples, and Samuel Beckett (Charlie R) presented the only bilingual piece of the night to close out the slam.

When all was said and done, Team Melancholy had come from behind to take the win! Team Choler took second, with Teams Sanguine and Phlegmatic falling in third and fourth. It was an exceptional night at the slam and good fun for all: if you missed it, well, you’ll just have to wait until next Halloween.

Next week: we’re back to our usual open mic, feature, and open 8×8 slam format. This week’s feature will be Southern poet G Yamazawa. See you there!