Tips from the Bar: That’s Not What I Was Looking For

Write a poem that incorporates:

1. The worst cover of a song you like.
2. Terrible advice from someone you love, and/or great advice from someone you don’t respect.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 26, 2017: Tatiana M.R. Johnson

Artist, writer, and Pushcart nominee Tatiana M.R. Johnson. Photo by Tim Carey.

Artist, writer, and Pushcart nominee Tatiana M.R. Johnson. Photo by Tim Carey.

Tatiana M.R. Johnson is a black woman artist, writer and 2017 Pushcart Prize XLI nominee from Boston, whose writing explores identity, trauma, especially inherited trauma and what it means to heal. She feels especially good when someone tells her that they felt something by reading her work.

Tatiana’s chapbook “for the love of black girls” was freshly released in July 2017, and is now available directly from the poet, or on Amazon (follow this link). She has been published in Fog Machine, Hypertrophic Press, Maps for Teeth Magazine, Madcap Review and Broad! Magazine. Read more of her work on her website: tatianamrjohnson.squarespace.com.


But wait… That’s not all! We’ll also present a spotlight from an old-guard west coast touring poet. The spotlight takes place as part of the open mic, so plan to arrive by 8:30 if you don’t want to miss this special appearance.

Bay Area poet and musician Sevan Kelee ("Lucky 7") Boult. Photo by Chani Bockwinkle.

Bay Area poet and musician Sevan Kelee (“Lucky 7”) Boult. Photo by Chani Bockwinkle.

SevanKelee Boult (Lucky 7) is a well known Bay Area poet and performer, and a 2017 Queer Culture Center Emerging Artist. This UC Berkeley graduate has a minor in Theatre Arts and is continuously redefining her poetry and performance. Gracing such stages as The Palace of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena, De Young Museum, Brava Theater and The Marsh Theater(s) in San Francisco, she has also represented several Bay Area slam teams over the past fifteen years. In 2014, she became the only person in the Bay to win the honored title Grand Slam Champion of of different Bay Area Slam teams (SF, Berkeley, Oakland, and Palo Alto). SevanKelee’s poem “Cucumber” has been seen on HBO Real Sex since 2000, and her poem “Listening to Pain” appears in the spring 2017 issue of Foglifter Journal.

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, July 19, 2017

Oh, summer. A time for friends at the barbecue, late moonlit nights and, of course, reuniting with your long-lost bartender in a dirty Cambridge basement? You betcha: redheaded wildchild Melissa Newman-Evans came home last night, ready to tear down the walls with her characteristic volume and– is that uncharacteristic tenderness we detect? What has Denver done to our poet! For real, friends, if you’ve been missing The Hyphen in your life, she’s around for the weekend with no more shows, but a few more unique, Cantab-only chapbooks that she doesn’t need to pack back to the mountains: reach out through her website if you want one of your very own.

As you might have expected, after the close of the feature, the slam was topped by two strong-voiced non-dudes, as Nora Meiners and Anna Binkovitz faced off in the final round. Despite strong new work by Nora, Anna won the day, earning $10 towards another year’s lease in the Boston area. Thanks to our judges, staff, and stuffed-to-the-gills crowd who made for a great midsummer sold-out show.

Next week: did someone say Sold Out Show? Yup, and you’d best arrive early next Wednesday to see feature Tatiana M.R. Johnson, a House Slam favorite and a rare and glorious sighting on this side of the river. Tatiana hits the stage around 10pm with her new chapbook, “for the love of black girls,” but you just might want to get here early to catch an open mic spotlight from Bay Area mainstay and turn-of-the-millennium west-coast slam champ SevanKelee (a.k.a. “Lucky7”) Boult. Night owls can stick around for the eighth and final open poetry slam of the 8×8 series that will close the night. Come on out!

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 19, 2017: Melissa Newman-Evans

Melissa Newman-Evans: poet, bartender, graphic designer, force of nature. Photo by Meaghan Ford.

Melissa Newman-Evans: poet, bartender, graphic designer, force of nature. Photo by Meaghan Ford.

You probably recognize Melissa Newman-Evans from Button Poetry or being the other horrible redhead behind the bar a few years back, but she is also a Pushcart Prize nominated poet. She was a member of the 2012 and 2014 Boston Poetry Slam teams, and a National Poetry Slam Finalist with the 2015 Denver Mercury Poetry Slam team. Her work has been published in Bodega, Muzzle, Radius, and FRiGG, among others, and she holds the title of Prettiness Engineer at Drunk in a Midnight Choir. She likes her lipstick red.

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, July 13, 2017

Three down… Zero to go?! It’s hard to believe that our team 4×4 season has closed out so early this year, Cantabbers, but it’s so: with less than four weeks left to go until the National Poetry Slam, we’ve brought our last NorthBEAST team slam into the venue for the year. After a high-energy show hosted by Kieran Collier, lovingly bout managed by Nora Meiners, and objectively scored by Cassandra de Alba, the slam yielded the following results:

1. Boston Poetry Slam 106.7
2. Slam Free or Die 102.6
3. Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam 97.5
4. Mill City Slam 92.2

Thanks to all our teams for a fine showing, and to our hard-working and thoughtful judges, for making this 4×4 possible! Our slam team will appear next, shiny new chapbooks in hand, at the venue on August 2 for an hour-long send-off feature, but if you’re itching to watch them slam between now and then, you’re in luck: check the team schedule for their upcoming away gigs.

Next Wednesday: we’re back, obviously. But guess who else is back? Your favorite-or-second-favorite-red-headed bartender: Melissa Newman-Evans returns from Denver for a half-hour engagement, where this time you bring drinks to her. Oh, and there’s poetry, and it’s good. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Who Is That Even

Write about an important haircut you have had: perhaps it was perfect, or traumatic. Think about the two different people you may have been before and after.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 12, 2017: NorthBEAST Regional 4×4 Team Slam III

Boston Poetry Slam official logo, by Gary Hoare.

Boston Poetry Slam official logo, by Gary Hoare.

We come to the close of our summer of slam with the last of our three Nationals-style 4×4 matches– four teams in four rounds, the ultimate balanced format for a poetry battle of strategy, emotion, and wits. This final shot for the venue team to practice for competition at the National Poetry slam will feature three other local teams, and of course include your home team.

Our field on this night will include:

This show is our last team slam of the summer and will have a slightly shortened open mic and will fill quickly, so we advise arriving for door time at 7:15 to get a seat. Cover charge is $5 to help raise funds for our team to travel to Nationals in Denver this August!

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 slam begins at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 5, 2017

This past Wednesday, we enjoyed a many-faceted feature from local poet Marisa Glynn. Variously described as “sensitive,” “a ray of light,” and “about to destroy you,” Marisa, as usual, smashed our expectations and left us with only glittering remnants. So glad to get to continue to look forward to hearing her on the weekly open mic; if you missed this week, bring your $7 next Wednesday so you can pic up a copy of Marisa’s brand new beautiful book, If There Is a Void in Your Chest, Put This Bird in its Place.

The slam was a six-poet showdown, coming down to a final pairing between newcomer Lindsay Michelle and just new-to-the-slam Jackie. After making short work of the opponents on each side of the bracket, these two met in the last round under the watch of three teams of very opinionated judges. At the end of the round, the win went to Jackie, who reads on our open mic frequently but can count this as her first $10 slam prize!

Next week: the summer of slam returns with a vengeance as we welcome our third and final Nationals-style team bout to the stage. Poets from Slam Free or Die in Manchester, N.H., Mill City Slam in Lowell, Mass. and the Lizard Lounge Poetry Slam just down the street will take on our home team on the venue stage. Remember, it’s a $5 cover to help raise money to send our team to the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, and we’ll be looking for five critical judges to take on the task of rating the poems in the slam.

Tip from the Bar: The Gabrielle Bouliane Prompt

The Gabrielle Bouliane Prompt: tip from the bar for Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

The Gabrielle Bouliane Prompt: tip from the bar for Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

Assume some form of reincarnation is real. What would like you like to come back as? What do you think other people believe you will come back as? What will the person you most love return as? Do you feel someone you love has already returned in another form?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 5, 2017: Marisa Glynn

Open mic favorite and Lesley grad Marisa Glynn. Photo courtesy of Emerson Poetry Project.

Open mic favorite and Lesley grad Marisa Glynn. Photo courtesy of Emerson Poetry Project.

Marisa Glynn grew up behind a red door, in a tiny town in Connecticut. She recently graduated Lesley University with a Master’s degree in mental health counseling. For self care, she dances around the house in an orange tutu. Marisa was told by a close friend that sensitivity is a super power. This has proven to be true through poetry as well as in her budding career. Every day she tries to emulate the sun and the way that it loves– loudly, and all at once. Marisa’s strong can be found in a pitbull named October, who also doesn’t know what to do with her body most of the time.

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.

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