Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It was like 1999 at the Cantab all over again last night, folks… Well, we had a different bartender. And a different SlamMaster. And also the stage is on the other side of the room– never mind, so it wasn’t anything like 1999, but it was a little bit like a reunion! Some old-school open mic folks showed up to strut their stuff just in time for the feature by James Caroline. Actually, that wasn’t like 1999, either, since Jme brought us all new work and a brand-new chapbook, Pointing Bone. Our Last Chance Slam was all the wackiness and excitement we expected, with crowd favorite Sophia Holtz taking the final round over strong first-time Cantabber Josh M.

Next week: it’s the Boston Poetry Slam’s biggest slam of the year! TWENTY poets are confirmed for the Team Selection Preliminaries, which will be a two-round slam to narrow the field to just twelve. This night is a special fundraiser for the team, which means a $5 cover charge, but it’s worth it: check out the list of qualified competitors here.

Tips from the Bar: Happy Pangolin Day!

Write about a little-known holiday. (St. Patrick’s Day does NOT count.)

Feature for March 28, 2012: James Caroline

James Caroline, Boston Poetry Slam host. Photo by Caleb Cole.

James Caroline, Boston Poetry Slam host. Photo by Caleb Cole.

James Caroline has been taking the mic at the Boston Poetry Slam (and Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam) as host, feature, and welcome regular for longer than he’d care to admit. A vibrant, emotional performer and highly disciplined writer, and with the intensity of his live shows garnering comparisons to Patti Smith, James has performed on three continents, competed in three National Poetry Slams, and represented the Boston Poetry Slam in the first ever Individual World Poetry Slam. Selected publication credits include The Lifted Brow, The Cascadia Review, Quarry, Subliminal, A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, and Painted Bride Quarterly. Recently, he became the closing speaker for Join The Impact Massachusetts, performing alongside Senators and activists in protests against DOMA, Prop 8, and other Queer issues. He is currently working on a collection of poems, Live, From the Killing Jar, and a novel in verse based on the myth of Dionysus. James hosts regularly at the Boston Poetry Slam and his full bio is available here.

Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. The Last Chance Slam to qualify for the 2012 Team Selection Slams will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last night, we had one of our favorite features stop by for a set: Jamaal May brought us his thoughts on the process of writing and being a writer… And, of course, some damn fine work read and performed, too! Can’t get enough? You can check out his press, Organic Weapon Arts, to order books or even submit to their chapbook series.

Then, to close the night, we successfully held the first Champion of Champions slam in the fabulous new format! And by “successfully,” we mean the four previous slam winners who arrived to compete (Kevin Spak, Patrick S., Ed Wilkinson, and Matthew Richards) fought tooth and nail through three rounds for the $50 prize. Patrick S. was crowned season champion over Kevin Spak, giving him the right to challenge Simone Beaubien, the reigning champ, to a brand-new-poem face-off. Simone’s creepy AK-47 poem trumped Patrick’s creepy teddy bear poem by 4-1 judge preference, so she retains the venue title and will be expected to defend again in July.

Next week: we invited James Caroline to feature and told him to do whatever he wants. Expect to get your heart torn out and get all sexed up, possibly at the same time… Which should make our final 8×8 before the Team Slam Preliminaries, the infamous Last Chance Slam, even more interesting.

Tips from the Bar: The Su Millerz Prompt

Or maybe it’s The Carrie Fisher prompt. Or it can be The Ansel Adams prompt if you prefer… But here it is: Postcards from Hell. Go!

Feature for March 21, 2012: Jamaal (“Versiz”) May

Jamaal "Versiz" May

Jamaal "Versiz" May

Jamaal (“Versiz”) May is a Cave Canem Fellow, Callaloo Writing Fellow, and student in Warren Wilson’s MFA for writers. He is the author of a poetry chapbook (The God Engine, Pudding House Press, 2009) and editor of the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Series. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Indiana Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Blackbird, and Verse Daily, among other magazines and anthologies. May has received two scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, an International Publication Prize from Atlanta Review, and he was a finalist for the 2010 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. Recently, he was named the 2011-2012 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University.

May is a two-time Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam Champion, two-time Detroit Slam Champion, five time National Poetry Slam team member, and two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. He has coached three Brave New Voices youth slam teams and teaches poetry classes through the Inside Out Literary Arts Project. More information, including samples of his work, can be found at www.versiz.com.

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. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Last week, our feature made our faces hurt from smiling… This week, Stephen Meads left our bellies sore with laughing and hungry for more! The Bay-Area-gone-Portland sensation rocked the house, and you can expect him to do the same at the Manchester slam this Thursday and at Worcester’s Dirty Gerund on Monday. The last 8×8 slam in the series came down to Sophia Holtz, who’d just survived a first-round tie, and an on-fire Matthew Richards. Matthew took the finals in an exceptionally great round of an all-around excellent slam.

Next week: extraordinary writer and performer Jamaal “Versiz” May takes the stage in the feature slot. A Champion of Champions slam will follow: the last eight slam winners will fight for the chance to face off against reigning champ Simone Beaubien in a one-round, brand-new-poem, winner-take-all slam-off.

Tips from the Bar: The Z Prompt

Write a poem that incorporates your area code. Be clever.

Feature for March 14, 2012: Stephen Meads

Stephen Meads is for the birds? Photo by Bryna Sampey.

Stephen Meads is for the birds? Photo by Bryna Sampey.

Stephen Meads is a writer of things. His unmatched energy, incredible wit, and acrobatic performances made him an integral member of the Bay Area’s collaborative writing and performing ensembles from 2005-2011, and he annually serves as one of three panel judges for the National Poetry Slam’s legendary Nerd Slam. Stephen was a member of the Tourette’s Without Regrets 2011 slam team, the Berkeley 2010 slam team, and Oakland’s 2009 slam team, as well as San Francisco’s 2008 and 2005 teams, this last of which placed 6th at that year’s National Poetry Slam. Stephen is currently making his home in Portland, Oreg. where he has taken on occasional hosting duties as part of the Portland Poetry Slam.

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, March 7, 2012

We had a cozy night at the Cantab this week, folks, with a slightly shortened but super-intense open mic, followed by feature Gregory Hischak. This one-time Seattle slam champion, now a playwright based on the Cape (with his very own Thursday reading series to boot), read to us in his frenetic and endearing style. The slam was another hot one, with Kemi Alabi taking the final round over Quentin Lucas.

Next Wednesday: poet Stephen Meads comes to us from his new home of Portland, Oregon, and we finish up with the last open poetry slam in this 8×8 series.