Cantab Recap for Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wow, wow, wow, there really is no place like home. On this post-Nationals Wednesday, the Cantab was extra-glad to welcome a sweet and conversational open mic to the stage, followed by a much-awaited feature from Providence organizer Charlotte Abotsi that did not disappoint. Charlotte brought us work that is, in so many ways, the story of slam; personal narrative crafted to both give and receive from the audience, rife with figurative language in a straightforward package. Also: can we talk about that send-up of both haters and lovers of fanfic? You know Charlotte didn’t bring any product to vend you, but you should definitely follow her on Twitter for more of her wits and wit.

Our Champion of Champions slam closed the night and it was glorious and so very right to see all eight champs in the house. These poets brought genuine A-game, with work full-out performed and written for a Nationals-level (ahem) stage. The ultimate pairing came down to mortal enemies Lip and Myles: Myles Taylor took the season championship and made the fiscally responsible decision to challenge reigning champ Brandon Melendez! However, after a blistering new-poem round, the judges determined that the student had not yet (YET) surpassed the master: Brandon maintains the title and can add that $100 prize straight to his tequila fund.

Speaking of slam… If you are at all involved in, or even tangential to, the national slam community, you have likely heard of some big shake-up in the organization. The dust is still clearing over Poetry Slam, Inc., but what we know for sure is that there will be no PSI events in 2019: most relevant to you may be the announcement that there will be NO National Poetry Slam next August.

What does that mean for us? Actually, we think it means a great opportunity to restructure our slam series to better serve our audience, poets, and performance poetry community. Effective this week, our gently-attended late-night slam events will enter hiatus until further notice; instead, we will begin a showcase slam series promising more themes, more fun, and more prime-time opportunities for audience to enjoy competitive literary hijinks. It all starts with our Sestina/Sonnet/Ode Slam on September 12, and continues with a Ghost Story Slam hosted by Zeke Russell in October.

Got ideas? Got questions? Got a killer Sestina/Sonnet/Ode set you want to present on September 12, or (hallelujah) an itchin’ to judge the slam? Please email slammaster@bostonpoetryslam.com with all you’ve got, and keep watching this space, and our Facebook page, for more info about our transforming slam series and plans for 2019.

Meanwhile: our extremely hot summer series marches on, with a feature from the most excellent Jeremy Radin this coming Wednesday. Did you hear about Jeremy’s top-notch poetic AND acting chops? You can get some of that sweet sweet stage advice honey from the poet himself at Jeremy’s early-bird workshop, a rare opportunity for performance practice with a trained performer. Sign up here! See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Literally a Poem About Your Favorite Pizza

Try and find a piece of writing that stumbles over objectification of a person (or somehow makes the act of objectification seem lovely) and let it inspire you to write about something you are passionate about. Express this without mentioning a person in any way.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 22, 2018: Charlotte Abotsi and the Champion of Champions Slam

FEMS champion and Providence slam director Charlotte Abotsi. Photo by Em Jiang.

FEMS champion and Providence slam director Charlotte Abotsi. Photo by Em Jiang.

A former Youth Grand Slam Champion, Charlotte Abotsi has taken on a directorship role at her home venue, the Providence Poetry Slam. There, she serves as a youth director, booking coordinator, and SlamMaster. She has competed in several international slams, and placed in the top twenty at the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Charlotte is a 2017 Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam winner. She is half of The Rush Hour Poetry Tour Collective, a collective demanding intersectionality at every avenue. Her poems have been written about in The Huffington Post and Mic.com. She is an artist and writer who lives in Providence, writing essay criticisms, poetry, and screenplays.

Tonight also marks the final night in our current 8×8 poetry slam series! Following Charlotte’s feature, eight slam winners will slam off for the season championship and the opportunity to challenge Brandon Melendez (HELLA YES), the current reigning Champion of Champions.

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 10:45. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, August 15 PLUS the National Poetry Slam

Poets! It has been a very busy week. First off, huge ups to jayy dodd for holding down a stellar feature while the National Poetry Slam raged on a thousand miles away. Jayy’s intensely relevant, intensely tender, and intensely talented voice filled the corners of our room, hearts, and consciences. Looking for more? Check out jayy’s online store for a whole lot more poems, essays, and updates on their forthcoming book, The Black Condition ft. Narcissus. Our open slam featured some hot-take-up-and-coming new competitors, with Acapellame taking the win and the big $10 over Jim.

Meanwhile, out at the National Poetry Slam in Chicago: this year’s fabulous fivesome (that’s Neiel Israel, John Pinkham, Meaghan Ford, Allison Truj, and Sara Mae) pulled through The Toughest Bout in prelims to ride a hot streak all the way to semi-finals! Congratulations to the team, who finishes with a rank of top 20 in the nation, not to mention a well-deserved reputation for NUANCE. (Extra thanks, by the way, to anyone involved in the team’s pump-up phone call on Wednesday night that preceded their top ranking in that bout. You know who you are, and we know you are awesome.)

And, with Nationals in the rearview, some of you may have heard of some nationwide slam shake-up. Change is good stuff, folks, but we can also assure you that our weekly open mic and upcoming features will remain unaffected! Slammers invested in the competitive 8×8 series can look forward to a heckuva slam reboot in coming weeks, but here’s a hint; start flexing your poetry-promptable brains to get ready for new themes, formats, and primetime showcase opportunities coming up for the rest of 2018. (And if you’ve got an idea for a slam you wanna see/get down in? You should definitely email the SlamMaster and get talking about how we can serve our audience and artists with fresh ideas for this evolving form.)

Next week: it is time, at long last, to welcome Charlotte Abotsi to our feature stage! This deeply talented and artistically thrilling human comes to us from the Providence slam scene to educate by brilliant and riveting example. Oh, and get this: the night will finish with a Very Important ™ Champion of Champions Poetry Slam! Returning NPS competitor Brandon Melendez will take on the top contender of the last eight slam winners in an all-new-poem final round, and we definitely don’t think you should miss this one.

Tips from the Bar: Dreamself vs. You

Wait for a moment when you are completely exhausted. Try writing down a few lines, or ideas, or an outline for a piece of writing. Once you are more rested, pick up where you left off; start with these key lines or ideas and work to finish the idea.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 15, 2018: Jayy Dodd

Literary and performance artist Jayy Dodd. Photo by Texas Isaiah.

Literary and performance artist Jayy Dodd. Photo by Texas Isaiah.

jayy dodd is a blxk trans femme from los angeles, california–- now based on the internet. they are a literary & performance artist. their work has appeared / will appear in zines & classrooms & basements & bookstores & over there probably. their words are award-nominated & are generally controversial. they are also a volunteer gender-terrorist, artificial intellectual, & wilderness prophet on the end times. find them talking trash online or taking a selfie.

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, August 8, 2018

To those who found yourself seated, standing, or leaning delicately on one another on the Cantab floor (totally clear of the fire exits, of course): our especial gratitude to each of you for coming to the show to send off our awesome fivesome for 2018. On Monday morning, Neiel Israel, John Pinkham, Meaghan Ford, Allison Truj, and Sara Mae will take to the skies toward Chicago, landing with a day to prep before the team’s first National Poetry Slam preliminary bout at 7:00 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday, repping all the good folks of the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge. We’ll do our best to update with results here (and on Facebook), but, in the meantime, your good vibes and good wishes for the team’s first bout against the Houston Poetry Slam, Houston VIP, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe are much appreciated.

The team takes to the stage for the second round of bouts at NPS on Wednesday around 9:00 p.m. CST, which is almost exactly the time the Cantab will be welcoming Jayy Dodd back to the stage for a full feature set. Visiting on a short tour, this well-traveled poet will be in town to dazzle and shake our little basement. Plus, if you’re keen to get on the list of qualified poets for the 2019 Boston Poetry Slam Team, you can qualify by taking the top spot in the open poetry slam that night.

Tips from the Bar: Comedy, Tragedy

Why is the gay mermaid late?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 8, 2018: The 2018 Boston Poetry Slam Team

The 2018 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Meaghan Ford, John Pinkham, Sara Mae, Allison Truj, Neiel Israel. Photo by Marshall Goff.

The 2018 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Meaghan Ford, John Pinkham, Sara Mae, Allison Truj, Neiel Israel. Photo by Marshall Goff.

This night will mark the Cantab’s last show before the 2018 National Poetry Slam, when we send off the 2018 Boston Poetry Slam team to compete for a week in Chicago! Neiel Israel, John Pinkham, Meaghan Ford, (Allison) Truj, and Sara Mae will have an extended feature set to bring out their top hits, one-off group pieces, and tender farewells before flying out to the birthplace of poetry slam. It’s five all-star poets in one show, so get your requests in well before you get in line at the door! The team will have plenty of product on hand to help fundraise for their trip to NPS.

To learn more about this year’s Boston Poetry Slam Team, click here. We’ll do our best to keep you updated with the team’s upcoming bout schedule at the National Poetry Slam, and links to help you follow along: the bout draw will be announced in early July.

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

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, August 1, 2018

O, Cantab denizens: thanks so much to everyone who came to the show last night to see the eminent, shining, and bone-shakingly brilliant Crystal Valentine. The poet opened an uncompromising window on structures of power, life & death in the Bronx, and love as a personal and radical act. Thanks to Crystal for taking such good care of our audience while bringing deep cuts to the mic; we hope folks who heard her are walking around beautifully changed today.

Our slam heated up late in the night with a sudden rush of competitors: six poets tried their luck and skill at the three-round competition, coming down to veteran Zeke Russell and up-and-coming new arrival Anthony in the final round. Zeke took the win and the ten bucks, but there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing a number of strong rookies out of just this slam over rest of the year.

Next week: our three-act show concentrates on just two acts, with our regular open mic followed by an extended feature set from the 2018 Boston Poetry Slam Team! Neiel Israel, John Pinkham, Meaghan Ford, Truj, and Sara Mae will air out the work they’ll be representing YOU with at the National Poetry Slam in a few short weeks! Get in line early, folks, because the house will be full of well-wishers and (dare we say it?) a few scouts looking to see the team’s set for NPS. Of note: it’s a five-dollar cover that night to support our team’s last fundraising push for travel to Chicago, and you might want to pack some extra cash to pick up the team’s forthcoming chapbook!