Tips from the Bar: Everything Was Easy

In response to The Olympics playing thirty minute stories on every athlete’s heart-wrenching story about how they overcame multiple tragedies to get where they are… Write the story of how you became a writer, despite having no personal obstacles: how privileged you were, and how everything was just handed to you.

Radio Recap for Monday, August 6

Thanks to everyone who came out to Comedy Meets Poetry this Monday at New & Improved! Just as promised, Wes Hazard brought us a troupe of comedic masterminds who were buoyed up by the funny of four additional poets. Good times!

Next week: we’re back UPSTAIRS with a crizazy double feature: nationally acclaimed poet and WriteBloody author Robbie Q Telfer and smart-hop artist Inphynit. As always: 379 Somerville Ave,. 21+, $5. See you there!

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 8, 2012: Cassandra de Alba

Cassandra de Alba tells it like it is in seventeen syllables at the Dirty Haiku Slam. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Cassandra de Alba tells it like it is in seventeen syllables at the Dirty Haiku Slam. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Cassandra de Alba enjoys writing poetry that can make you laugh and feel horribly alone at the same time. She graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in history and poetry and a manuscript of poems partially based on the American sideshow. She has represented the NorthBEAST at three National Poetry Slams (with Slam Free or Die in 2008 and Hampshire County Slam Collective in 2010 and 2011) and performed up and down the East Coast with the No More Ribcage tour. She lives in Somerville with a cat named Roger Mindf**ker, who won’t stop hitting her.

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, August 1

You might think it wouldn’t have been possible to upstage the 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team send-off feature last night: Kemi Alabi, Antonia Lassar, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Antonia Lassar, and Melissa Newman-Evans in a quintuple feature extravaganza, highlighting two super-tight group pieces, all the crowd’s favorites, and some new work throw in to boot! Kemi laying down a brand-new heart-wrenching and sweet love poem! Antonia pulling in all the light on stage to illuminate a dramatic group piece! Melissa lambasting every Sad Boy in the house! Mckendy dropping a wild sestina late in the evening! Oz weeping openly about his emotional dolphin experiences! And the release of the team’s annual chapbook, Shame and Honey, a twenty-plus-poem collection of the team’s work designed by Melissa! What a fabulous feature of well-crafted work, all to pump us up for this already-successful team’s trip to Charlotte for the National Poetry Slam next week!

Oh, wait, but also this happened:

Melissa says yes. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Melissa says yes. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Congrats to Kevin Spak, who put his heart on the line in front of a sold-out house, and to Melissa Newman-Evans, whose gleeful acceptance is captured above. Awww. This happy engaged couple will be down at Nationals next week, so be sure to offer your good wishes! (Pro tip: they both drink dark beer or bourbon.)

Thanks to everyone who came out to see the show last night, and a special note of gratitude to those who bought books to help the team’s trip to Nationals. We bout on Tuesday and Thursday night, so keep an eye out right here and on the official website for results! Plus, don’t forget about next Wednesday: Cassandra de Alba will feature next week, followed by the first open slam of the new 8×8 series.

Tips from the Bar: I Don’t Like Your New Pets

Write about what happens when someone gives up something beautiful and gentle for something difficult and dangerous.

Adam’s example: an ex who traded in two kitty cats and a bunny rabbit for a scorpion and two tarantulas.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 1: 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team

The 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Back to front, left to right: Oz, Antonia, Kemi, Mckendy, and Melissa. Photo by Marshall Goff.

The 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Back to front, left to right: Oz, Antonia, Kemi, Mckendy, and Melissa. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Tonight’s feature will be the send-off for the five-person 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Join Kemi Alabi, Antonia Lassar, Omoizele Okoawo, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, and Melissa Newman-Evans at their last night at the Cantab before the National Poetry Slam! These five poets will be polished and ready for NPS in North Carolina the next week– and ready to show off the work they are taking to Charlotte to compete.

We’re giving this group a special extended feature slot to really stretch out and show their stuff. Since it’s their last night in town, we’ll also be charging a $5 cover (instead of the usual $3) to help fund their trip and lodging at NPS. In return, you can expect a stellar feature of top-notch work performed fabulously– including those group pieces you might not get to see again after this season!


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. There is no open poetry slam tonight. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5 tonight to help fundraise for the slam team’s trip to the National Poetry Slam.

Radio Recap for Monday, July 30

I’ll bet you didn’t even know there was a downstairs venue at the Radio bar, did you? Well, there is: in deference to a previously-booked night of bands upstairs, we meandered down the back stairs to the wood-like-paneling extravaganza that is the basement of our Monday night bar. With just a hint of sound bleed rumbling in from above, the whole event started to feel a little bit like a Wednesday night at the Cantab… And the open mic reflected it, as a host of new readers and the cast of Radio regulars teamed up to create a magically high-quality hour of poetry, storytelling, and (get this) a musical debut from we-know-him-as-poet Andy Locke.

Our features for the night were poet Ed Wilkinson and storyteller Daniel Gewertz— although perhaps we shouldn’t bother applying labels, since folks like Ed and Dan will just bust right out of ’em. Reprising his early-bird workshop about work poems, Ed brought us a poignant, smart, and often achingly funny story arc featuring poems from everyday life illustrated by extraordinary language. Then Dan followed up with a set of poetically written monologues written with a hint of McCarthy-like funny-along-the-way; we also were fortunate enough to hear the out-loud debut of excerpts from his forthcoming novel. All in all, it was a fabulous night for art and community, and one we look forward to building on.

Next week: we are back upstairs with Comedy Meets Poetry, curated by Wes Hazard: four poets (Andy Locke, Nora Meiners, Meaghan Ford, and Adam Stone) will pair off with four comics (Matt Kona, John Paul Rivera, Gary Petersen, and the Wes-man himself) in a battle for belly laughs! As always, it’s 21+ and $5 downstairs at 379 Somerville Ave. in Union Square.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 25

Once again, a fabulous time was had by all at the Cantab this Wednesday: a host of new readers and listeners turned out to enjoy featured poet Tyler Smith, who packed dozens of short poems into a smart, witty, and inspiring feature drawn from his cohesive body of work. Tyler’s leaving for Australia in a few weeks, but you can catch him (and his amazing vinyl-inspired product) at the nearby Stone Soup reading in one more upcoming feature.

Following Tyler’s feature, the Champion of Champions Slam was, as expected, a barnburner of a show. Seven champions turned out for the event, all of them packing at least one new poem in their back pockets –and all of them knowing only one poet would have the chance to use it in the final round. In the first round, we saw opener Sophia Holtz kick in the door with her shirtwaist factory fire poem, only to be defeated by earnest first-time-champ-slammer Nathan Comstock. The second pairing turned out to be an impromptu Battle of the Bartenders, where server Melissa took a close second to once-longtime-champion Adam Stone. Since our eighth poet was missing, the last poets of the first round battled in a mighty threesome, where Marshall Gillson came out swinging to earn the highest score of the round, but with Portland poet Zanne Langlois hot on his heels, both defeating Nora Meiners.

That brought Nate up to battle Adam in the first pairing of the second round; Nate opted for sweet where Adam decided to break open the room with a little funny, which worked like a charm. In the tightest pairing of the night, an on-fire Marshall was defeated by surprise favorite Zanne! Bartender Adam Stone then brought a huge performance in the final round, but found himself on the receiving end of a new and powerful piece from Zanne that capped her fairy-tale trilogy for the evening. After being crowned the season champ, Zanne oh-so-humbly challenged champion Simone Beaubien to a one-round new-to-the-Cantab slam-off, then defeated the champ in a 3-2 judging decision! Congrats to our new Champion of Champions, Zanne Langlois, who will be invited to return to defend her title this October.

Next week: the 2012 National Poetry Slam is almost upon us, which means it’s time to wish good luck and farewell to the 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Kemi Alabi, Antonia Lassar, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Omoizele Okoawo, and Melissa Newman-Evans will feature in a special one-hour show with a $5 cover, presenting some of their well-tested, brand-new, and one-time group work for the home crowd. Think about packing a few extra dollars (you don’t need clean laundry this week, do you?) to get the team’s chapbook, which will be released on this night as well!

Tips from the Bar: Once Upon a Time

Your mirror has confessed all of your darkest secrets to a one-night stand, who is now infatuated with you. What happens next?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 25, 2012: Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith, recent MFA grad.

Tyler Smith, recent MFA grad.

Tyler Smith was born and raised in Rochester, NY. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Interrupture, Jellyfish Magazine, and Yes, Poetry. Currently he lives in Somerville, MA, where he plays bass for the oft-defunct band Pistol Buckets.

Tyler has just completed his MFA in Boston and has enchanted the open mic crowd at the Cantab with his quirky imagery and surreal, deadpan sense of humor. He will feature during his last weeks in Boston before returning to New York.

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. The Champion of Champions poetry slam in the current 8×8 series will follow. (There is no open poetry slam tonight.) The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.