Tips from the Bar: Raid Your Own Closet

Take two completed poems of your own and combine them into one. (The more incongruous, the better.)

Feature for December 21, 2011: Amethyst Arsenic Release Party

Amethyst Arsenic

Amethyst Arsenic

Amethyst Arsenic, an online poetry and art journal based out of Somerville, MA, was founded by Samantha Milowsky in 2011 to publish the best poetry and art to the widest possible audience. The journal is open to all forms of poetry from new and established voices. The journal pays for accepted work and nominates poems for established critical awards. The journal has sponsored NPS 2011 and Mass LEAP, and was selected as one of 5 Awesome New Literary Journals for 2011.

The Amethyst Arsenic Winter 2012 issue release will feature Tony Brown, Sam Cha, Karen Locascio, Michael Lynch, Gordon Marshall, Jacqueline Morrill, Alexander Nemser, Tara Skurtu, and Jade Sylvan.

Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. A season final poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

About the poets:

Tony Brown has been writing and publishing for close to forty years. Also a veteran of slam and performance poetry, including in the last few years a poetry and music duo with bass player/guitarist extraordinaire Steven Lanning-Cafaro named “The Duende Project.” Blog with link to tracks and a running stream of poetry is at http://radioactiveart.wordpress.com. Tony lives in Worcester, MA.

Sam Cha lives in Cambridge with his partner, Dawn, a racket (or a mess? both collective nouns are apposite) of children, a gaggle of books, and a cat who steals strawberries. He’s an MFA candidate (poetry) at UMass Boston. Stuff by him’s appeared here and there, but that’s neither here nor there. He usually gets carded for liquor, and sometimes for smokes.

Karen Locascio currently lives in Dorchester, MA. She’s attended Bread Loaf and Tin House and left the illustrious world of finance to pursue an MFA in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Karen loves Boston but will always be a Jersey Girl at heart. Find her on Facebook, because she could really use more friends.

Michael Lynch lives and writes in Melrose, Mass. His poetry has appeared in Night Train, In Posse Review, White Whale Review, Harvard Divinity Bulletin and elsewhere. A chapbook, Underlife and Portico, is available through Aforementioned Productions.

Versed in critical theory and versatile, Gordon Marshall writes jazz criticism in addition to the eleven volumes of poetry he has published (Shires Press). Jazz Journalists Association president Howard Mandel writes of his work in this field: “The images are many, word choices artful, concretization of abstract or elusive points well-realized.” A corresponding sensibility characterizes his poetry.

Jacqueline Morrill fell in love at first slash. A graduate student at Sarah Lawrence College, she devotes her thesis writing to tales of sexual fetishism, pseudo-psychology and the feeding habits of forest animals. Blurring the line between persona and personal, she delivers the last words of murdered children off a silver tongue that no sooner begs forgiveness than it asks acceptance. Hailing from Worcester, Massachusetts, Jacqueline has become a strong and welcomed voice in the Worcester poetry scene over the past few years. She looks forward to graduating and plans to teach creative writing at the collegiate level, back in New England.

Alexander Nemser’s poetry has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review. He has performed his work internationally, including at the Bowery Poetry Club and the Galle Literary Festival, Sri Lanka.

Tara Skurtu studied Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her work has twice been recognized by the Academy of American Poets: she received the 2010 Academy Harold F. Taylor Prize (judged by Jericho Brown), and won an Honorable Mention for the Academy’s 2008 Prize (judged by Elizabeth Alexander). Lloyd Schwartz selected her as the recipient of the 2010 Marcia Keach Poetry Prize. Tara’s work appears or is forthcoming in: Poet Lore, Salamander, Hiram Poetry Review, The Southeast Review, The Comstock Review, and in the anthology Viva La Difference; Poetry Inspired by the Painting of Peter Saul.

Jade Sylvan is a nationally-touring poet, songwriter, speaker, and teacher. Her first full-length collection of poetry, The Spark Singer, was published in 2009 by NYC’s Spuyten Duyvil Press, and her work has appeared in Word Riot, Decomp, The Pedestal, The November 3rd Club, and OVS. She is the co-founder of Mass LEAP (Massachusetts Literary Education And Performance), a collective that creates teen poetry opportunities in greater Boston. For the past couple of years, her OCD has been hijacked by the Rock ‘n’ Roll icons of the 1960s and their mythological resonances. She currently works as a writing teacher and teen mentor in Somerville, MA. Her hip-hop side personality, Madame Psychosis, has a Zombie Apocalypse music video online, and she released her first album of original indie-folk music, Blood & Sand (Red Car Records) in 2011. She does a lot of other things.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What a hot night, Cantabbers! Christian Drake pulled out all the stops for us at his feature, bringing us a selection of new-to-us greatest hits, plus a few favorites written just for the Cantab this summer. The slam was won by Simone, who took a decisive two-round victory over Brian Omni Dillon.

Next week: it’s a party! Amethyst Arsenic will celebrate the release of the Winter issue with poems from Tony Brown, Sam Cha, Karen Locascio, Michael Lynch, Gordon Marshall, Jacqueline Morrill, Alexander Nemser, Tara Skurtu, and Jade Sylvan. This extended feature will be followed by the season final slam matchup: Sean Patrick Mulroy versus Simone.

Tips from the Bar: Douglas Adam Stone Prompt

Explain how to get a couch too large for the stairwell into a third-floor apartment.

(Actually, Adam doesn’t even care if this is a poem or not: solve this problem in time to save his couch and you can expect extra-special treatment at the bar.)

Feature for December 14, 2011: Christian Drake

Christian Drake hosts at the Cantab Lounge during the 2011 National Poetry Slam. Photo by Jonathan Weiskopf.

Christian Drake hosts at the Cantab Lounge during the 2011 National Poetry Slam. Photo by Jonathan Weiskopf.

Christian Drake is a six-time National Poetry Slam team member who has appeared on Finals stage three times: once as a competitor (Team Albuquerque 2009) and twice as an invited guest performer (2006 and 2007). This former Somerville resident has also been a host of the Berkeley Slam and Albuquerque, NM’s Poetry & Beer Slam, Oakland’s famous Tourettes Without Regrets variety show and the spin-off he founded, Tourettes Without Regrets ABQ. His poetry has been performed on at least three continents and covered by hundreds of high school forensics students, and he himself has performed in over sixty cities in the U.S. and Canada. He has never appeared on HBO, but has been featured on Al Jazeera.

Christian’s earned his reputation in the slam world by combining finely-crafted poetry with wild, rock-and-roll-inspired performance. A poet of outstanding variety, his repertoire includes poetry about heartbreak, music formats, war, nature, pornography, immigration, gardening, mythology, love, and the relative merits of period sex. He’s best known for his environmentalist message; currently a science teacher in the New England wilderness, his work as an aquarium naturalist, planetarium guide, urban forester and park ranger has influenced his craft. The effect is, to quote one audience member, ‘like nature poetry filtered through a guitar amp.’

Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. A semi-final 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, December 7, 2011

Well, we kept promising Jamei Bauer was going to kill some dogs at her feature, and, by heck, she did it; the Cantab’s best veterinary technician just about wrecked us with her heartrending stories from the ER– not to mention her tongue-in-cheek depictions of love, death, and life as God on the beach. A rollicking four-man slam was won by Sean Patrick Mulroy, who defeated Sam Teitel in order to advance to the December 21 season final.

Next week: naturalist poet Christian Drake features, followed by a second semi-final slam with Omni, Meaghan, Simone, and Melissa.

Tips from the Bar: Walking Dead Prompt

Use the following as title, subject, line, or inspiration for your poem: docile opossum apocalypse.

Feature for December 7, 2011: Jamei Bauer

Jamei Bauer

Jamei Bauer

Jamei Bauer is a veterinary technician, educator, and poet. She fled her home state of Alabama at the age of 17 and has been proud to call New England her home ever since. She loves snow. She once, accidentally, killed a giraffe. The biggest reason people stop talking to Jamei at parties is that she tells disgusting stories about working in an animal hospital. The biggest reason people stop talking to Jamei at work is that she tells them she writes poetry. Much of her work deals with reconciling these worlds.

Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. A semi-final 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 30, 2011

Cantab fans turned out in full force to see 2011 Cantab Slam Team member (and Emerson Poetry Project curator) Maya Phillips feature last night! She brought a super-tight set of old work and new, including a brandy-new chapbook for the fans. The final open slam in the 8×8 series was won by Melissa Newman-Evans, who charmed the audience early then took a heartbreaker of a final round over Ed.

Next week: everybody’s favorite vet tech poet, Jamei Bauer, will be our feature. The slam will be the first of the two 8×8 semi-finals with Bobby, Sam, Nate, and Sean competing.

Tips from the Bar: Pandorschrodinga’s Box

You have a received a gift from someone who:

  • Doesn’t like you
  • Is a terrible gift-giver.

What’s in the box?