Radio Recap for Monday, May 7

Thanks to everyone who came out to our first night at Radio, which was a sweet success! This newly reopened bar at 379 Somerville Ave. in Union Square has a lovely stage, comfy chairs and tables, and great whiskey drinks. It’s almost too nice for us —almost. A cozy group of hard-writing spectators got along just fine with the owner, who opened up on a Monday evening to bring you poetry with Adam Stone and Emily Carroll.

The night kicked off with a prompt-based workshop with Adam, who offered us a writing prompt that was much more expansive than his usual Tips from the Bar: a persona- and cocktail-inspired hour generated some fun new work from about ten dedicated participants. Our open mic followed up (with a generous five minutes per person), and then we enjoyed some of Emily’s thesis work in her first feature! Adam brought the night to a close with a snarky set of new and old work.

We’ll be running workshops and features all month at Radio, and we’re back next week on May 14 with two of the best names (no, really: check out those vowels) in the business… Mckendy Fils-Aimé will lead a 7:00 workshop, then co-feature at 9:00 with Simone Beaubien! Doors open at 6:30 for a $5, 21+ show.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The feisty and fabulous Emily Rose dropped by this past Wednesday to bring us a very sexy workshop followed by a feature in kind! She even stayed late for extra credit heckling our slam: this latest 8×8 was a flashback to March, with Nora Meiners and Nathan Comstock facing off in the finals. The first win of the season went to Nathan, who’ll be invited back to the Champion of Champions slam in July.

Next week: we’re back on Wednesday with our usual open mic and an extended feature from Patricia Smith. Can’t wait until Wednesday? Come hang at New and Improved at Radio this Monday, May 7 with features from Adam Stone and Emily Carroll.

Tips from the Bar: We Demand an Apology

Apologize for the crimes committed by the monkeys on Maya Phillips’ pajama pants.

Feature for May 2, 2012: Emily Rose

Emily Rose performs at Tourettes Without Regrets.

Emily Rose performs at Tourettes Without Regrets.

Emily Rose is a Chicago-born and raised poet, performer and host of many things. An active organizer in her community, she is currently a Real Talk Avenue Artist, co-SlamMaster and host of the Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam, Jilted Emily Rose at The Encyclopedia Show, Tournament Director for Louder Than a Bomb, member of the 2010 & 2011 Mental Graffiti Slam Teams, a board member for Chicago Slam Works, chair of poetry for the Bucktown Arts Festival, and much much more. Her first chapbook, Cigarette Love Songs and Nicotine Kisses (Cross+Roads Press), was published in 2004. Her work has appeared in After Hours, TimeOut Chicago and more. Emily Rose probably already likes you.

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.

Workshop for May 2, 2012 with Emily Rose

Emily Rose, workshop leader from Chicago.

Emily Rose, workshop leader from Chicago.

Special one-night only workshop! Emily Rose will offer an early-bird workshop at the Cantab Lounge before her feature. Drop-ins are welcome to swing by. Workshop description:

Sex is a natural part of human existence, yet it seems that a lot of “erotic poems” are meant to be more pornographic than part of the human experience. In this workshop we will discuss the place of sex in poetry as a means to explore the topics of intimacy, relationships, gender dynamics, social change and the politics of desire.

Doors open at 5:30 for attendees, and the workshop runs from 6:00 to 7:00. Cover charge is $5, which includes admission to the evening show. The venue is 18+ (ID required).

Meet the 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team

Congratulations to the 2012 Boston Poetry Slam Team: Kemi Alabi, Antonia Lassar, Omoizele Okoawo, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, and Melissa Newman-Evans!

The team was finalized on Wednesday, April 25, after a three-night, seven poem series, and they’ll represent the Boston Poetry Slam at the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, North Carolina from August 7-11.

The full details about what happened at team selection are forthcoming in our weekly recap… In the meantime, aren’t you wondering what the National Poetry Slam is all about? You can check out this year’s website at, where there are already tickets available to see our team and more than 70 others compete at the week-long event!

Tips from the Bar: the Tom Lehrer Prompt

Produce a poem with too many adverbs. Alternatively: make up your own adverb.

Feature for April 25, 2012: Team Selection Finals

Boston Poetry Slam

It’s the last night of the Team Selection Slams, and it’s sure to be the most exciting; the top nine poets from Semi-Finals will slam off in three wicked rounds to see who will represent the Boston Poetry Slam at this year’s national competition! Appearing in this order in the first round:

1. Ed Wilkinson
2. Sophia Holtz
3. Simone Beaubien
4. Mckendy Fils-Aimé
5. Antonia Lassar
6. Omoizele Okoawo
7. Melissa Newman-Evans
8. Kemi Alabi
9. Maya Philips
Sacrifice poets: Meaghan Ford and TBA

The five highest scorers at the end of the night will travel to the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, North Carolina, this August, to compete against more than seventy other teams from the U.S. and Canada.

Doors for the show open at 7:15. A shortened open mic begins at 8:00 and the slam begins at approximately 9:30. An open poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5; proceeds will go toward sending the team to the National Poetry Slam this August.

We’re Slamming at the Mass Poetry Festival!

Massachusetts Poetry Festival -- April 20-22, 2012 in Salem, Mass.

Massachusetts Poetry Festival -- April 20-22, 2012 in Salem, Mass.

The Boston Poetry Slam has been invited to the fourth annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival! The three-day Festival kicks off on Friday, April 20 and continues through Sunday, April 22. We’ll be right in the thick of it with two shows, both hosted by Boston Poetry SlamMaster Simone Beaubien.

Youth Slam at the Old Town Hall
1:30 sign-up, 1:45 slam
32 Derby Sq., Salem, MA

To accommodate a little schedule change (among the hundreds of shows at the Festival!) the Youth Poetry Slam will now kick off at 1:45 on Saturday, April 21, with sign-ups beginning at 1:30 in the Old Town Hall at 32 Derby Street. Poets between the ages of 13 and 19 years are invited to try their hand at the two-round competition! Prospective competitors will need two poems to perform, recite, or simply read off page for scores, whistles, and supportive snaps.

All-Star Demo Slam at Victoria Station
9:30 until 11:00
Pickering Wharf, 86 Wharf St., Salem, MA

The Boston Poetry Slam @ the Massachusetts Poetry Festival will be pumping up the crowd at Victoria Station on Pickering Wharf, 86 Wharf Street. This rambunctious event will feature eight all-stars selected from the slam community at large: local fans of performance poetry will recognize National Finalist Omoizele Okoawo, renowned playwright and performer April Ranger, hip-hop artist and freestyler Marlon Carey, Lizard Lounge slam champ Cole Rodriguez, Emerson College SlamMaster Maya Phillips, Worcester slam favorite Brandi MacDonald, California slam champ Christian Drake, and famed Cantab Lounge bartender Adam Stone. This is the most amazing line-up you’ll see this side of the National Poetry Slam— and all the poets will be in tip-top performance shape for the heart of National Poetry Month.

Want more info? Check out our Boston Poetry Slam Presents event page, or visit the official official 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival website.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This past Wednesday, our marathon three-night, seven-round slam team selection process continued with the Team Selection Semi-Finals. The twelve poets who survived the Preliminaries were invited back for two more poems, hosted by ringmaster/special guest Erin Jackson. When the dust cleared, the results were like so:

Maya Phillips shakes up the slam with The Things I Don't Say About Race. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Maya Phillips shakes up the slam with The Things I Don't Say About Race. Photo by Marshall Goff.

1. Maya Philips 57.5
2. Kemi Alabi 57.4
3. Melissa Newman-Evans 56.3
4. Omoizele Okoawo 55.5
5. Antonia Lassar 55.3
6. Mckendy Fils-Aimé 54.8
7. Christian Drake 54.6
8. Simone Beaubien 54.6
9. Sophia Holtz 54.3

10. Sam Teitel
11. Ed Wilkinson
12. Meaghan Ford

Poets in bold have qualified to advance to the Finals next Wednesday, April 25. Christian Drake has regretfully decided to step down, so the ninth spot will be filled by Ed Wilkinson (Sam Teitel has elected to commit to the Manchester Slam Team for 2012).

Wednesday’s slam started off with a double-barreled bang, as Sam Teitel kicked in the door with an open letter to New York City in the voice of the city of Boston, followed by Meaghan Ford’s Medusa Weeds Her Rock Garden. The two persona poems in a row were a prelude to the theme of night, during which seven of the twelve performers would give voice to at least one fictionalized character. The next poet, Ed Wilkinson, started another trend with the snarky Toast: A Political Poem, being one of five poets to take to the stage that night with paper (or iPad) in hand. All the performers seemed effectively tied in the judges’ minds until Sophia Holtz, speaking in the voice of a hundred-year-old disaster, riveted the crowd with her quietly intense performance and pulled the scores up by nearly a full point to set the rest of the show off and running.

Mckendy Fils-Aimé goes off mic to shoot a few hoops. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Mckendy Fils-Aimé goes off mic to shoot a few hoops. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Countering the intensity in the room with one part erotica, one part humor, and one part persona (we hope) proved successful for Melissa Newman-Evans, who broke the 28 barrier from the fifth spot in the show. Mckendy Fils-Aimé aimed high by being the first poet to risk going off-mic, although his basketball poem was not as well-rewarded as it had been in the World Qualifiers back in January. A revamped performance of The Decent Ones by Omoizele Okoawo followed, scoring high enough for the middle of the pack.

Next up was Maya Phillips, who blew up the scores by saying the things she doesn’t say, seemingly unhindered by reading the poem quietly from behind the mic. Antonia Lassar followed with the wild emotional ride of anger, tenderness, humor, and intense focus she’s become known for, as did Christian Drake with a heartfelt and heartbreaking list poem, but both found themselves struggling against time penalties. Simone Beaubien slipped in between the two with a low-scoring work poem that would turn out to be one of the night’s few pieces of personal narrative. Closing out the round was Kemi Alabi, whose advice from the B Line (produced for last summer’s MBTA slam) topped out over Maya by 0.2 for the highest score of the night.

Sam Teitel works the room in his second-round poem. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Sam Teitel works the room in his second-round poem. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Facing an even earlier draw in the second round than in the first didn’t faze Meaghan, who brought a brand-new piece to the stage from the one-spot. She was followed by an on-page Kemi, who charmed the judges once more and secured her spot in the Finals early. Melissa switched gears to bring the weird with a witchy hex story, which was enough to lock her into Finals as well. The six-oh-threesome of Mckendy, Ed, and Sam followed, with Sam bravely working the whole room in a classic Cantab walk reminiscent of a certain sixty-something SlamMaster with a ponytail. Sam’s successful performance was unfortunately stymied by the biggest time penalty of the night, resulting in a(nother) round of boos for New York City.

Antonia came to the stage next, electing to set her feet behind the mic and praise the possibilities of anger. A big score locked her in as well and left the next five poets to sweat! Sophia and Christian both squeaked into Finals after time penalties (which may have been the third theme of the night), Sophia with an intense treatise on assault and Christian with a call to rejoice in the malleability of memories. Simone and Oz each followed with a little taste of sex; Simone brought paper to the stage on the subject of the delicious fig and Oz countered with the surprisingly short and sensual Her Mouth.

Capping out the slam was Maya, who came to the stage in the guise of George Wallace and put the slam away with the high score of the round, just enough to defeat Kemi by 0.1 for the top spot in the show. What a night!

We’ll be back next week for the Team Selection Finals, where the top nine poets will go three rounds to determine the five-person 2012 team! Phew, that was a lot of numbers… Let’s have some pictures instead. While you’re waiting for next week, please enjoy this gallery of photos from Marshall Goff: