National Poetry Slam: Preliminary Competition on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The National Poetry Slam returns to Boston, August 13-17!

The National Poetry Slam returns to Boston, August 13-17!

At the opening rounds of the National Poetry Slam, the largest poetry slam in the world, slam teams will take the stage four at a time to battle it out for a chance to advance to semi-finals. Each weeknight represents a double-header poetry slam extravaganza, featuring teams from all over the U.S. and Canada; more than fifty teams will be eliminated after preliminary competition, so these weeknight bouts might be your only chance to catch your favorite national poets on the Boston stages.

BOUTS FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14 (both upstairs, 21+, $5)
7:00 p.m. (6:30 doors): Writers’ Block (OH) vs. Lethal Poetry (IL) vs. Sedona (AZ) vs. Mental Graffiti (IL)
9:00 p.m. (8:30 doors): Queen City (OH) vs. Pierced Ear (CA) vs. SlamRichmond (VA) vs. Java Monkey (GA)
Click here for the complete NPS bout schedule.

LATE SHOWS FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14 (21+, $7)
11:00 p.m. (upstairs): J.W. Baz and Jesse Parent host The Decathlon Slam
11:00 p.m. (downstairs): Social Headquarters (no cover)
Click here for the complete NPS Late Show schedule.

For our home crowd: remember that the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge is the official home venue for the National Poetry Slam this year, and if crowds at the National Poetry Slam back in 2011 are any indication, this show will sell out early every night. Please plan your arrival early, or investigate one of the six other venues hosting National Poetry Slam preliminary bouts this week!

This show is part of the week-long National Poetry Slam and takes place UPSTAIRS at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 6:30 with the first slam beginning at 7:00, a second slam at 9:00, and a late-night showcase beginning at 11:00. We will clear the room between shows. The slam shows are $5 and the late-night event will be $7: all are free with a Festival Pass. All shows are 21+ (ID required).

National Poetry Slam: Preliminary Competition on Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The National Poetry Slam returns to Boston, August 13-17!

The National Poetry Slam returns to Boston, August 13-17!

At the opening rounds of the National Poetry Slam, the largest poetry slam in the world, slam teams will take the stage four at a time to battle it out for a chance to advance to semi-finals. Each weeknight represents a double-header poetry slam extravaganza, featuring teams from all over the U.S. and Canada; more than fifty teams will be eliminated after preliminary competition, so these weeknight bouts might be your only chance to catch your favorite national poets on the Boston stages.

BOUTS FOR TUESDAY, AUGUST 13 (both upstairs, 21+, $5)
7:00 p.m. (6:30 doors): SlamNuba (CO) vs. Eclectic Truth (LA) vs. Marquis (NC) vs. Lizard Lounge (MA)
9:00 p.m. (8:30 doors): Intangibles (NY) vs. Da Poetry Lounge (CA) vs. Soapboxing (MN) vs. Rhythmic Cypher (ME)
Click here for the complete NPS bout schedule.

LATE SHOWS FOR TUESDAY, AUGUST 13 (21+, $7)
11:00 p.m. (upstairs): Tatyana Browne hosts The Lit Slam
11:00 p.m. (downstairs): Christian Drake hosts Toastmasters
Click here for the complete NPS Late Show schedule.

For our home crowd: remember that the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge is the official home venue for the National Poetry Slam this year, and if crowds at the National Poetry Slam back in 2011 are any indication, this show will sell out early every night. Please plan your arrival early, or investigate one of the six other venues hosting National Poetry Slam preliminary bouts this week!

This show is part of the week-long National Poetry Slam and takes place UPSTAIRS at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 6:30 with the first slam beginning at 7:00, a second slam at 9:00, and a late-night showcase beginning at 11:00. We will clear the room between shows. The slam shows are $5 and the late-night event will be $7: all are free with a Festival Pass. All shows are 21+ (ID required).

Moonlighting: A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series on Thursday, August 8, 2013, featuring Jill McDonough

This reading is part of our monthly LGBTQ series, Moonlighting.Click here for more information about this recurring show.

Note that this month’s Moonlighting takes place on the SECOND Thursday of the month.

Jill McDonough, three-time Pushcart Prize winner.

Jill McDonough, three-time Pushcart Prize winner.

The winner of three Pushcart prizes, Jill McDonough’s books of poems include Habeas Corpus (Salt, 2008), Oh, James! (Seven Kitchens, 2012), and Where You Live (Salt, 2012). The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Stanford’s Stegner program, she taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education Program for thirteen years. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Slate, The Nation, The Threepenny Review, and Best American Poetry. She directs the MFA program at UMass-Boston and 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center online.

This show in our monthly Thursday LGBTQ series takes place 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 and a $3 donation is requested.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 7, 2013: Boston Poetry Slam Team

The 2013 Boston Poetry Slam Team in a post-Finals candid by Marshall Goff.

The 2013 Boston Poetry Slam Team in a post-Finals candid by Marshall Goff.

On this night, the Cantab’s last poetry show before the 2013 National Poetry Slam, we both send off the 2013 Boston Poetry Slam Team and welcome them home! The official home team for Nationals, Ed Wilkinson, Jade Sylvan, Omoizele Okoawo, Nora Meiners, and Sean Patrick Mulroy will present an extended feature full of all the hits (and a few secret B-sides) before hitting the first preliminary bouts of NPS. Awesome!

To learn more about the 2013 Boston Poetry Slam Team, click here. We’ll also keep you updated here with the team’s upcoming bout schedule at the National Poetry Slam, right here in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville: the bout draw will be announced in mid-July and we’ll have all the details as soon as they’re available.

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. A slightly shortened open mic begins at 8:00 and the extended feature begins at approximately 10:00. (No open slam tonight.) The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 31

Harlym125 silences the crowd between judging sessions. Harlym125 founded the national version of NUPIC in 2009. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Harlym125 silences the crowd between judging sessions. Harlym125 founded the national version of NUPIC in 2009. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Harlym125 in the house? HELL, YEAH! At the NorthBEAST NUPIC last night, we took Harlym’s format to the concrete floor at the Cantab, pitting eight New England all-stars against one another in an epic battle. The eventual champ will go on to compete at the NUPIC (that’s National Underground Poetry Individual Competition) at the National Poetry Slam in just a few weeks!

Kayla Wheeler, representing Manchester's Slam Free or Die at the NorthBEAST NUPIC. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Kayla Wheeler, representing Manchester’s Slam Free or Die at the NorthBEAST NUPIC. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Huge love goes out to TLove from Portland RC, Rudy Cabrera from the Lizard Lounge, Ellyn Touchette from Portland PV, and Sarah Sapienza from Worcester Poets’ Asylum: these four best poets repped strong for their venues, but fell after a single poem each. Love their work? Live in their city? Check out the links on the right for more info on their NorthBEAST slams… Or find them at their scheduled bouts coming up in the preliminary round of NPS.

Christopher Johnson, NorthBEAST NUPIC rep from Providence, takes the stage in the final round. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Christopher Johnson, NorthBEAST NUPIC rep from Providence, takes the stage in the final round. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Hometown heroes Bobby Crawford (for Mill City) and Ed Wilkinson (the home rep) fell in the semi-final round, leaving a wicked pairing for the finals: Kayla Wheeler from Slam Free or Die took the stage against Christopher Johnson from Providence Poetry Slam. After THREE suspenseful recounts, Christopher Johnson took the title!– he’ll go on to the big super-secret show on August 16. Congrats to Christopher and to all our poets for rocking the mic!

Next week: JUST ONE MORE SHOW UNTIL THE NATIONAL POETRY SLAM, PEOPLE! Aaaaaaaaaaaand this one’s a doozy: your home team from the Boston Poetry Slam will present an extended feature.

That’s Ed Wilkinson, Omoizele Okoawo, Jade Sylvan, Nora Meiners, and Sean Patrick Mulroy in a full hour to show off what they are taking to NPS. Heads up: it’s a $5 cover this week to help raise the last of the funds to make this the best National Poetry Slam ever. Come celebrate our team!


If you missed the show, you can thank official photographer Marshall Goff for capturing some of the action for you last night. Here are a few gallery selects, fresh from the camera:

Tips from the Bar: Worst Nostalgia Ever

Write about being terrorized by something you loved as a child.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 31, 2013: NUPIC Qualifier

Boston Poetry Slam

Every August at the National Poetry Slam, a cadre of competing poets gathers at a secret location to hold a head-to-head, no-holds-barred, crowd-response-only poetry slam. We won’t say exactly what we know about the National Underground Poetry Individual Competition when it comes to Boston this year, but we can give you an idea what a slam judged by a basement full of poets sounds like… This year, we’ll invite eight poets from around the NorthBEAST to compete in our very own NUPIC-style head-to-head event, sanctioned by founder Harlym125 himself, who’ll be on hand to resolve any troublesome ties. The winner gets a paid spot in the official NUPIC!

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. A 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.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 24

This past Wednesday was an exceptionally fun one at the Cantab, folks. Our feature was the inimitable Steve Subrizi, fresh out of the studio and just weeks away from the launch of his fall tour. Steve brought his classic self-effacing wist to the stage, earning the hearts of the audience and one enthusiastic standing ovation. Steve heads out on tour this fall and just might be coming to your favorite town: he’s available for bookings nationwide.

Steve’s set only marked the beginning of this all-star night, though, as the third act of the show presented the all-star Champion of Champions slam. Consider this: any slam where Melissa Newman-Evans, Nathan Comstock, Phoenix Bunke, and Jenn C. are eliminated just in the first round has got to be mad craziness. The semi-final round saw the fall of Zeke Russell and TLove, leaving Sean Patrick Mulroy and Princess Chan to go head to head for the season championship. Sean pulled out the win in the final round and held the nights top honors for one shining moment! However, on the challenge to the champ, Tom Slavin came to the new poem round with a top-notch performed sestina and took the decision 4-1. Congrats to Tom, who retains the title of Champion of Champions for another season! (And congrats to all our slammers, whose summer wins qualify them for the 2014 team selection slams.)

Next week: we’re back with the NorthBEAST NUPIC Qualifier. Which New England all-stars will be repping the eight NorthBEAST venues? Sorry, but it’s a hyoooge secret! You’ll just have to get ready to yell your faces off for whomever catches your fancy at this totally crazy crowd-response pit-fight slam, while volume judge Harlym125 makes sure you are getting it right.

Tips from the Bar: the John Waters Prompt

Write about how someone generally considered to be a bad influence was a positive influence on you.

Cantab Feature for July 24, 2013: Steve Subrizi and a Champion of Champions Poetry Slam

Poet-musician Steve Subrizi. Photo by Ernest Estime.

Poet-musician Steve Subrizi. Photo by Ernest Estime.

Steve Subrizi lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has read poetry and played music across America by himself; along with Emerson College’s first slam team, the Gringo Choir, which also included Carlos Williams, Carrie Rudzinski, and Maxwell Kessler; with his good friend, former New Hampshire slammaster Sam Teitel; and with his band, the Crazy Exes from Hell, a duo with Kirsten Opstad. He just put out his solo project, called Home Alone Forever.

Tonight will also mark the next installment in the Champion of Champions! Tom Slavin will defend his title against the winner of this season’s 8×8 slam 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. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. The Champions of Champions Slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.