Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 23, 2018: Chrysanthemum Tran

National slam champion Chrysanthemum Tran.

National slam champion Chrysanthemum Tran.

Chrysanthemum Tran is a queer & transgender Vietnamese American poet, performer & teaching artist based in Providence by way of Oklahoma City. In 2016, she became the first transfeminine finalist of the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Chrysanthemum is a 2016 Rustbelt Poetry Slam Champion & 2017 FEMS Poetry Slam Champion, in addition to being awarded “Best Poet” at the 2016 National College Slam. Chrysanthemum is a Pink Door Fellow & the current lead teaching artist for the Providence Poetry Slam youth team.

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.

Annual Attleboro Arts Museum Poetry Slam: Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018
86 Park St., Attleboro, MA
6:30 sign-ups, 7:00 open mic, 7:30 poetry slam
FREE show for all ages

more details at the Attleboro Arts Museum website

The Boston Poetry Slam has presented a free poetry slam in conjunction with the Attleboro Arts Museum annually since 2007! This year’s special event will feature three National-Poetry-Slam-bound teams and an open mic headlined by YOU, hosted by BPS SlamMaster Simone Beaubien. As always, the show is held in the main room of the Museum at 86 Park St. in Attleboro, and the event is free of charge. For the third year in a row, this event is generously made possible by funding from the Attleboro accounting firm Castro, Thresher and Oliviera, P.C..

This year’s event will reprise the high-energy show format of the past three years: an open mic for members of the Attleboro community and beyond will kick off the night. After the open mic, teams from the Boston Poetry Slam, the House Slam, and the Providence Poetry Slam will go head-to-head-to-head in a performance poetry exhibition! These three freshly selected teams will be shaking out their metaphors in preparation for their trip to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago this August.

The Attleboro Arts Museum is located at 86 Park St. in Attleboro, Mass., just a short walk from the Attleboro stop on the Providence/Boston line of the Commuter Rail. Signups for the open mic begin at 6:30pm, with the open mic starting at 7:00. A poetry slam featuring all-star slam teams will begin at the end of the open mic. The show is recommended for teens and up (the Museum is all ages) and admission is free.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What a Wednesday! After a somewhat short and very sweet open mic, howdyheck were we glad to welcome George Abraham to a last-minute spotlight feature. George, a Palestinian-American poet, activist, engineering PhD candidate at Harvard, and just-about-one-year-regular at the Cantab, is the author of two chapbooks and widely published in some of your favorite reviews. But wait: George is also the co-editor (with Tariq Luthun) of Nakba: 70 Years of Palestinian Resistance to Occupation, a poetry folio gathered by these two for LitHub and Maps for Teeth over a period of forty-eight intense hours this week. George was generous enough to read from these voices in context during a short set last night, and our audience responded with love, but also donations for George to pass on to Medical Aid for Palestinians and ADDAMMEER. Huge thanks to George for taking the time and energy to share this with us.

As you might have heard: our scheduled event for the night was the year’s speediest slam, the semi-finals of our World Qualifier series! Eleven poets hit the stage with just one 2-minute and one 1-minute poem, all vying to earn a spot in the June 6 World Qualifier Finals… Math and ties being what they are, the nine poets in bold are now qualified for the eight spots:
1. Myles Em Taylor 54.9
2(t). Lip McDonald 53.2
2(t). JR Mahung 53.2
4(t). Sam Zilli 52.5
4(t). Sara Mae 52.5
6. Zeke Russell 52.2
7. Neiel Israel 51.9
8(t). José Zepeda 51.4
8(t). Meaghan Ford 51.4

9. Cassandra de Alba
10. RebeccaLynn

Score-wrecking sacrifices were offered up from Evan Jymaal Cutts (our May 30 feature!) and George Abraham, but our five (well, math and judge teams being what they are, eight) judges held strong; thanks to Katherine & Shauna, Azam, Victoria & Armando, Claudia & Emma, and Nick for having vastly different opinions from one another, but still somehow making a terrifyingly tight slam.

Next week: our slammers can finally stretch out and relax, as we will return to regular 3-minute open poetry slams… But the rest of you will be on the edge of your seats for a long-awaited feature from Chrysanthemum Tran! Don’t miss out: come celebrate the longest run of spring weather in New England history with any of our awesome upcoming Wednesdays.

Tip from the Bar: The Origin of Your Specifics

Adam Stone's Tip from the Bar for Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

Adam Stone’s Tip from the Bar for Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

What part of your body has most recently Poké-evolved? What do you most miss about it? Does its departure change or benefit you in any way?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 16, 2018: World Qualifier Speed Slam

The grand finale to the Boston Poetry Slam’s speed slam series is just around the corner: get ready for the World Qualifier series, a two-night, six-poem series to select the Boston Poetry Slam’s sole representative to the Individual World Poetry Slam! This year’s IWPS will take place in San Diego in October, and our World Qualifier slam winner will be entered into the 2018 event.

Night one of the World Qualifier will be our annual grand speed slam: a huge field of poets compete in a lightning-fast two-round slam using ONLY 2- and 1-minute poems. That means lots of new work performed by your favorite slam winners from the past year! Top scorers move on to the Final in June.

Up to twenty-six poets will qualify to slam in this first round of prelims! For a roster of those qualified (and to see what dates are left to jump in), click here.

You can also click here for the full rules and format for the World Qualifier Series.

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. An slightly shortened 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; proceeds will go toward funding the World Qualifier winner’s trip to IWPS this October.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 9, 2018

There’s really something about May, Cantabbers: maybe folks are finally getting outside after a long winter’s nap. Maybe folks are free of finals, or the seats at their favorite local bar are finally up for grabs… Whatever the reason, it seems like we see some of our most welcoming and wonderful open mics in the month of May. Thanks to all the folks who brought such positive and supportive energy to this Wednesday’s mic, then stayed checked in all night to witness and woot for an excellent feature from Chen Chen. This poet with a knack for the impossible brought tenderness to the forbidden, unspoiled sweetness to the objectively awkward, and a crush of happy nods to the room of listeners. Why, yes, Chen Chen’s book, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, is indeed beautiful, and also available from BOA editions.

Our Last Chance Speed Slam was a hotly contested five-poet melee, buffeted by a power triad of judges seated near the front of the room. At the end of the third round, Myles emerged victorious over Karen, after an intense and lovely three rounds from the field. That’s it for our speed slam season, folks! We’ll be back to three-minute rounds in all our open shows until January…

Oh, wait, except for ONE MORE SPEED SLAM: that’s the semi-finals of the World Qualifier, this Wednesday on May 16! A murderous joyfest of poets is qualified for the show, which will be just two rounds of 2- and 1-minute poems. Don’t blink / don’t miss out on which eight poets will rise to the top and the Finals on June 6. Next week’s show will be a $5 cover to help send the eventual World Qualifier winner to the Individual World Poetry Slam in San Diego this October.

Tips from the Bar: But Everybody Wants to Run the World

Adam Stone's tip from the bar for Wednesday, May 9, 2018.

Adam Stone’s tip from the bar for Wednesday, May 9, 2018.

Who runs the world? Squirrels.

Bring us a poem with a squirrel in it… Yes, even if a squirrel seems an unlikely participant in the poem you intended to write.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 9, 2018: Chen Chen

Rochester prizewinning poet Chen Chen. Photo by Jess X. Snow.

Rochester prizewinning poet Chen Chen. Photo by Jess X. Snow.

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, the GLCA New Writers Award, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His work has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, The Best American Poetry, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. Recently, Poets & Writers Magazine featured him as one of “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World.” He lives in Rochester, NY with his partner and their pug dog, Mr. Rupert Giles.

Note that tonight’s Last Chance Poetry Slam is a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. This is the final opportunity to qualify for the 2018 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. The Last Chance speed slam will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 2, 2018

It’s May already, Cantabbers, and that means a five-payday-month: we kicked off our bonus Wednesday this week with a really sweet open mic, welcoming some very strong newcomers to the stage, and setting up Kieran Collier for a glorious journey of a feature. What a joy to see this longtime reader owning the mic for himself and selecting poems from the whole arc of his story. If you missed it? Your best bet is to come to the Cantab for the next, say, fifty Wednesdays, so you can really get a feel for this local community leader and educator’s work.

You may have heard, by the way, that we finalized our Champion of Champions with a speed-style 8×8 this week, too, the penultimate of the season. Four poets arrived to take a shot at reigning champion Brandon Melendez, who’s been making a name around town for himself in the intervening weeks (hey, House Slam team!). Previous slam winners RebeccaLynn, Lip, Evan, and Sam battled it out two rounds to leave RebeccaLynn and Lip in the top spots: on a roll with some fresh performances, RebeccaLynn claimed the season championship and let the cash prize ride to challenge Brandon to a rematch of their previous epic Champions battle! These two poetic friends and rivals were toasting tequila with each other when the scores went up, so maybe they didn’t notice, but the news is this: Brandon took the final, new-poem round, defending the title to safely retain until August’s rematch.

Next week: listen, you can’t tell anybody, but Chen Chen is going to be our feature on May 9, and it’s kind of a big deal(!). We’ll also enjoy the very last speed slam of 2018, which is, coincidentally, our Last Chance Slam to get into the World Qualifier on May 16.

Last bit of news: if you didn’t hear the announcement at the Cantab this week, here it is again… We are proud to report that our spring and summer bookings are being conducted by tumblrinatrix, co-host, and badass organizer Cassandra de Alba. Be sure to thank Cass (alert: whiskey is one good thanks) when you see a poet you love on the schedule!

Tips from the Bar: A Fine Judge of Character

Have you ever had a partner that didn’t get along with your pet? Or a pet that didn’t get along with your partner? How did you explain this? What did you do?