Cantab Recap for Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Another June in the books, Cantabbers! Big ups to last night’s feature, Ben Tolkin, who withstood some good-natured “elusive” ribbing in order to bring a dynamic, wide-ranging, and literally historically true feature to the stage last night. Take notes, folks on the hook for a full feature set: if you aren’t nestling a ten-minute poem into the centerpiece of your setlist, you could be doing things Ben’s way instead.

Next week: did someone say slam? Oh, wait, it was us: we’ll be back in action with a 4×4 team slam featuring teams from Verbal Slap (Connecticut), Dirty Gerund (Worcester, Mass.) and pick-up all-star captain George Abraham, all taking on the home team. Check your couch cushions for twenty first-week-of-the-month dimes, please; it’s a $5 cover this week to put up a $100 prize for the winner and pay gas money to our traveling teams!

Tips from the Bar: Ghost Line, But Not Like You’re Thinking

From a conversation overhead, without context, at the Cantab bar. Start your poem with the following line:

“I’m no Mary Oliver, but–”

Erase this line when you are finished.

Cantab Feature for June 26, 2019: Ben Tolkin

Local open mic favorite and nerd Ben Tolkin. Photo by Amelia Trainer.

Local open mic favorite and nerd Ben Tolkin. Photo by Amelia Trainer.

Ben Tolkin lives and works in Cambridge, which is a great place to be a nerd and a terrible place to be insecure. He has competed at CUPSI and NPS and had a poem engraved into a Cambridge sidewalk slab and once won a prize for pretending to be a scientist. These days, he really enjoy fonts, old maps, the Internet, obscure historical figures, and writing about same.

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

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Holy wow, Cantabbers: thanks so much to each of you who brought your kindest and truest selves to the show last night. Our open mic was the sweetest and shiniest strawberry it’s been a long time, thanks to the visible and joyful work of poets and audience, and surely due in no small part to a carefully curated workshop and emotionally rich feature from James Merenda. If you missed your chance to get a copy of this local’s new chapbook, Stone Split & Fruiting, you’re in luck; catch them at just about any upcoming open mic to ask about taking one home with you.

Next week: our feature will be Ben Tolkin, a CUPSI/NPS poet who finally leaps from much-touted-occasional-open-mic-sensation to full-on headliner at the BPS. Come by to listen in on a full set from this elusive local.

Tips from the Bar: Good But Weird But Good

Try to convince someone that something you enjoy is worth trying.

Cantab Feature for June 19, 2019: James Merenda

Poet and playwright James Merenda. Photo by Clark Hartman.

Poet and playwright James Merenda. Photo by Clark Hartman.

James Merenda is a queer & nonbinary poet, playwright, and organizer. They were raised outside of New York City and currently reside in Somerville, Mass. James was a selected participant in Winter Tangerine’s March 2019 intensive. Their work has appeared in THRUSH Poetry Journal, PANK Magazine, and Passages North. Their first full-length manuscript is currently a semifinalist for YesYes Books’ 2019 Pamet River Prize.

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

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What a night! It was a joy to welcome team slam back to the Cantab, just in time for summer: last night, two established slams and two local presses mixed it up for a wildly satisfying show. After four rounds of literary battle, we’re excited to congratulate pizza pi press on their big win! pizza pi operates directly out of a pizza and produces gorgeous illustrated chapbooks, as well as the seasonal pub maps for teeth. Our next pizza pi author feature will arrive on July 24 when Melissa Lozada-Oliva is in the house.

Our runner-ups last night were your very own home team: Joshua Elbaum, Arianna Monet, Terah Ehigiator, and Zeke Russell. The team pumped up tender new performances of their work in their home room for a solid second-place finish: in an glorious coincidence, by the way, we are pleased to announce that these four all-stars will all be pizza pi mini-book pressmates by this fall.

Coming in close behind were the glorious authors from Game Over Books, including some first-time visitors to the venue making waves with our regular listeners. Here’s how tight this slam was: this team actually put up the highest scoring individual piece, shaking up the first round and setting the bar high for everyone scrambling to follow. Interest in joining up with this incredible stable of authors? You’re in luck: Game Over’s open submission period begins on June 17!

And, last and best in the show of our hearts, our fourth and final team of the night came from Slam Free or Die in Manchester, New Hampshire, an hour north but in the very center of our hearts. Our partner NorthBEAST slam, SFoD holds all-ages events every Thursday and occasional Wednesday workshops in the back room of the Stark brewpub, often sharing out-of-town features and community with the BPS. And, cool news: last night’s pick-up team wants you to know that SFoD will be selecting their representative team in the fall, so you still have time to head north and win an open slam to get in the mix!

That’s all they wrote for this slam, folks! But wait: we’re back next week? At 5:30 for a prompt 6:00 workshop from James Merenda? You betcha: and our doors open at 7:15 as usual to welcome folks for the 8:00 open mic, followed by a full feature from James.

Tips from the Bar: Every Day Is Allston Christmas

What’s the first thing you do when you move into a space you expect to become yours?

What’s the last thing you do when you leave?

Cantab Poetry Slam for June 12, 2019: Team 4×4 Slam with SFoD, Game Over, and pizza pi

We’re just leaning on the cusp of summer, folks, which means it’s team slam season! Tonight will mark the first of our summertime Nationals-style 4×4 team slams, meaning that we’ll welcome four local slam teams to our virtual cage match for a four-round slam. Get your boxing gloves and whiteboards ready, because this is gonna be a hot one! We’re excited to welcome slam teams repping the following literary entities:

This show will have a slightly shortened open mic and will sell out quickly, so we advise arriving for door time at 7:15 to catch a seat… Otherwise, you’ll be waiting until July to catch another team slam. Cover charge is $5 to help raise funds for the teams and presses.

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, June 5, 2019

Last night, poet Jasmine Reid took our stage for a sound-rich, spellbinding feature featuring work from her upcoming chapbook from Honeysuckle Press. This tender and uncompromising poet brought us along an emotional and physical journey linked with lush vowels and abundant slant rhyme, deprioritizing narrative in favor of audible sumptuousness: a glorious and blooming opener for June.

Next week: we recommend you arrive early for what might be our hottest slam show of the spring! Four teams representing Game Over Books, pizza pi press, Slam Free or Die, and your very own home venue will slam off in a glorious 4×4 Nationals-style team slam. Our open mic will be just a smidge shorter, but judging opportunities will abound, and we expect our presses will bring plenty of product for you to browse. Heads up: this show will have a $5 cover to pay each of our slam teams as well as offer a cash prize for the winners of the slam.