Cantab Recap for Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Welcome back, CUPSI poets! The house was packed last night with the triumphant return of our local poets from college nationals, including Emerson, Simmons, Northeastern, UMass Boston, and more (who’d we miss?), all to catch JR Mahung and the Champion of Champions slam! As expected, Northeastern co-coach and LTAB co-director JR rocked the house with his sensitive yet unflinching personal story. This 2016 Pushcart Prize Nominee is due a new book out on Pizza Pi Press: keep an eye out for his newest work from the publisher. After the conclusion of JR’s feature, six past slam winners took the stage to vie for the Champion of Champions title, held for the duration of 2017 by Kylie Noelle. After the conclusion of three rounds, Sara Mae and RebeccaLynn faced off in the one-minute finals: RebeccaLynn took the win and decided to roll into the new-poem round to challenge the champ! When the dust cleared, a new champ had been crowned: congratulations to RebeccaLynn, who will be invited to defend the title this August.

Next week: speaking of CUPSI returnees… We can hardly wait to see the Berklee crowd in the house, who no doubt will turn out in force (come early to get your seat!) for 2015 National Poetry Slam champ and forthcoming Pizza Pi author Jonathan Mendoza. Our slam will be the Last Chance Speed Slam: our final open speed slam of the year, and the last opportunity to get into our World Qualifier on May 3.

Tips from the Bar: Who Moved My Cheese?

Write a poem to deal with an unexpected, gently unwanted change in your life.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, April 19, 2017: JR Mahung and the Champion of Champions Slam with Kylie Noelle

JR Mahung, Belizean-American-Chicago poet. Photo by pizza pi press.

JR Mahung, Belizean-American-Chicago poet. Photo by pizza pi press.

JR Mahung is a Belizean-American poet and educator from Chicago’s South Side. He is currently based in Boston where he helps organize the Louder Than a Bomb MA youth poetry slam and co-coaches Northeastern University’s slam team. JR is currently working on his second collection of poems on Pizza Pi Press, titled “Since When He Have Wings.” He has work published or forthcoming in Freezeray Literary Journal, Maps for Teeth, and Moko Literary Magazine. His mixtape is not for sale but he’ll ask you to buy it anyways.

Tonight also marks the final night in our current 8×8 poetry slam series! Following JR’s feature, eight slam winners will slam off for the season championship and the opportunity to challenge Kylie Noelle, the current reigning Champion of Champions, in a speed-slam-style event with 3, 2-, and 1-minute rounds.


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 Champions of Champions Slam in the 8×8 slam series will begin at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month rolls on, and what better poet to hear a full set from than the month’s very namesake? Last night, a small and mighty crowd braved the malfunctioning subway to roll into the venue just in time for a riveting feature from April Penn. The weekly venue mainstay showed off just some of the five-to-six poems she writes per week and doesn’t get to read on the open mic, taking us on a sometimes-sweet, sometimes-sexy body-conscious journey to awaken us for spring. If the city’s public transportation woes kept you from seeing the set, don’t forget to ask April about a copy of her new chapbook, Dissolution.

The final slam in the 8×8 speed series was a real doozy, welcoming a full roster of eight gung-ho poets to the mic. After ties, upsets, and at least one pleasing dose of good old-fashioned heckling, the final two poets standing were Ron and Baudelaire. Ultimately, Ron’s stand-and-deliver narrative defeated Baudelaire’s mic-free untimed delivery, with a grand time had by all. Special thanks go to three volunteer judges last night, all of whom were consistent, fast, enthusiastic, and brand-new at the job: Grace, Sydney, and VJ.

Next week: poetry month marches on, now with a Champion of Champions slam! Kylie Noelle will be back from CUPSI to defend the championship title against the last eight 8×8 winners. Oh, and you may have heard that we are at last featuring Pizza Pi Press author and Northeastern coach JR Mahung. Get your bicycle, skateboard, and whirligigs in order in time to get a seat for this show!

Tips from the Bar: Polar Bear vs. Prop Penguin

On Tuesday, a polar bear at the Pittsburgh zoo lunged at a penguin backpack visible on the other side of the aquarium glass.

Consider a time you attacked a person or an idea, only to realize it wasn’t what you thought it was.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, April 12, 2017: April Penn

April Penn, Cantab local favorite. Photo by Gregory Jundanian.

April Penn, Cantab local favorite. Photo by Gregory Jundanian.

April Penn’s work explores daily life in Boston as a queer artist and member of a co-op for people with autoimmune disease. She writes about chronic pain, sexuality, gender, and the internet. She has poems published or forthcoming in The Deaf Poets Society, La Redactrice, The Fem, The Offing, Maps for Teeth, Provocateur, and Hoax Zine.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam will be a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2017 World Qualifier.

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, April 5, 2017

At last, at last, it’s National Poetry Month! You know, the one time of year you can read about “Is Poetry Dead?” in ten percent of your major news outlets… But don’t worry, our literally underground poetry scene continues very much alive for 12/12ths of the year, which you already knew if you were out to see Robert Lashley on our stage last night. Robert brought us an intensely driven performance of his unparalleled lyrical, surrealist work. Still reeling from his performance? You can grab his book, Up South, online, straight from Small Doggies Press.

After the feature, of course, we slam: this week’s open slam featured four friends-and-foes facing off in the penultimate speed slam of the season. The final one-minute round came down to John Pinkham and Rachel Sahlein, both riding high on love from the judges in the first two rounds: John took the ultimate run, and the ten bucks, leaving Rachel standing to slam another day. Congrats to John, who qualifies for our Champion of Champions slam on April 19 AND our World Qualifier Speed Slam on May 3!

Want your own qualifier spot? You’ll just need to win the last slam in the 8×8 series next week. That’ll be the end of our night, of course: the beginning starts up with our (regular-length) open mic, and our feature will be the prolific, thoughtful, and rock-solid April Penn. Come through!

Tips from the Bar: The Oompa Prompt

Write about two parts of yourself that are at war.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, April 5, 2017: Robert Lashley

Pacific Northwest poet and Small Doggies author Robert Lashley.

Pacific Northwest poet and Small Doggies author Robert Lashley.

A 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award, Robert Lashley has had poems published in such journals as Feminete, Seattle Review Of Books, NAILED, Drunk In a Midnight Choir, and The Cascadia Review. His work was also featured in Many Trails To The Summit, an anthology of Northwest form and lyric poetry. His full-length book, The Homeboy Songs, was published by Small Doggies press in April 2014, and his latest book, Up South, will be available in March 2017.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam will be a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2017 World Qualifier.

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, March 29, 2017

Happy National Poetry Month, Cantabbers! It’s been a wild beginning to spring for poetry, and making not one, but TWO sold-out pre-legendary shows happen (our eleven-person Finals and the third annual Grudge Match) has been an honor, a privilege, and a really good time.

First things first: announcing the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam team! After three heartwrenching rounds, the BPS Finals finished out like this:
1. Zeke Russell 82.9
2. Neiel Israel 82.6
3. Mckendy Fils-Aimé 81.1
4(t). Brandon Melendez 80.0
4(t). Em Taylor 80.0

6. Allison Truj
7. John Pinkham
8. Kieran Collier
9. Adam Stone
10. Kylie Noelle
11. Austin Hendricks

Slammers in bold will represent the team at the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado this August 7-12. Yowza! Extra thanks to sacrifices Zenaida Peterson and Ron Prudent, as well as spotlight sorbet feature RebeccaLynn, for helping to make the night happen. And congratulations to all our slammers: for an unforgettable night that’s sure to go down in Cantab history.

Thanks, also, to our packed houses on Wednesday and Thursday this week; a full house for our triumphant finals (yay!) and an even fuller space at Oberon for our third annual defeat at the Grudge Match (wait, seriously) means that our team can look forward to a solid fundraising base to get to the National Poetry Slam. Our little $3 show couldn’t do it without you, folks; thanks for all the listening you do.

Next week: it’s National Poetry Month, and we know how to celebrate! With poetry, obvs. But, in this case, also with the dense and intense work of Robert Lashley, shining Pacific Northwest poetry star. See you then, glorious listeners.

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