Cantab Feature for Wednesday, August 1, 2018: Crystal Valentine

Top slammer, thinker, and sanctuary-maker Crystal Valentine. Photo is courtesy Werds of Art via crystalvalentine.com.

Top slammer, thinker, and sanctuary-maker Crystal Valentine. Photo is courtesy Werds of Art via crystalvalentine.com.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Crystal Valentine is a writer, activist and educator. She earned a B.A in psychology at NYU, where she is returning as a MFA candidate in Poetry. Crystal is a Callaloo fellow, the two-time winner of the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, the 2015 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, and the 9th ranked woman poet in the world by way of the 2016 Woman of the World Poetry Slam. She recently placed 2nd at the 2017 National Poetry Slam festival with the Brooklyn poetry slam team. Crystal’s work has been featured on programming for MSNBC, Blavity ,The Huffington Post, BET and more. She was Glamour Magazine’s 2016 College Woman of the Year, Teen Vogue’s “Rising Young Black Thought Leaders And Trailblazers,” and is the author of her first book, Not Everything is a Eulogy.

When she isn’t performing, Crystal can be found leading youth workshops at Harlem Children’s Zone and Urban Word NYC. Ultimately, she aims to make her poetry a sanctuary for all identities of the African Diaspora. She uses her platform to spread joy and self-love by advocating for her community, and documenting and humanizing their lived experiences as people of color in America. Visit her at crystalvalentine.com.

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 25, 2018

Some people say the internet is out there declaring that only a few weeks of summer remain. Some folks are talking about getting press releases and party invitations suggesting that the end of summer happens in mid-August or some such nonsense. Fie! Pish-tosh! Horsefeathers! There are Two Whole Months left of summer goodness in your calendar, folks, and right in the heart of it this week was the hothot poem work of Anna Binkovitz, cold-weathering Minneapolis poet and departing Cantab barstool denizen. Anna at last performed a welcoming full feature set on the mic… Just in time for us to lose her to NYC. Good luck in your travels and stay cool in New York, Anna!

Our slam was a rapid-fire affair hosted by Zeke Russell and featuring a heads-up finale between north-side visitor Maya Williams and much-beloved local Lip. Lip took the win and the ten dollars home, and brought us one step closer to our August 22 Champion of Champions match, where we invite our eight winners back to slam for the venue title.

Next week: in a glorious last-minute booking, the eminent Crystal Valentine has agreed to swoop in to feature for us next Wednesday. Come see this powerful poet with a delicate touch for craft in a full feature set; we recommend an early arrival (doors are at 7:15) if you want a seat for this one.

Tips from the Bar: Shark Week, Cantab Style

Explain a scar you don’t remember getting.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 25, 2018: Anna Binkovitz

Local-for-now Minneapolis poet Anna Binkovitz.

Local-for-now Minneapolis poet Anna Binkovitz.

The punk-ass lovechild of Betty Boop and Morticia Adams, Anna Binkovitz is a Minneapolis poet who is unimpressed by Boston winters. An MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence, Anna’s work has appeared in Beech Street Review, Muzzle Magazine, the Huffington Post and elsewhere. Anna has been a finalist at CUPSI, Rustbelt and the Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up. Anna was a member of the 2018 Open Mouth Writing Retreat cohort. Critics call Anna a “bold dyke” and Anna wants to make this their LinkedIn tagline. Someone stop them.

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 18, 2018

Wow! Wow! A packed-to-the-rafters crowd came out last night to witness our second (and final) 4×4 team slam of the season; our home team trotted out a selection of pretty-new group pieces in the rollicking wake of work from Manchester’s Slam Free or Die, Northampton’s Pulp Slam, and the Mill City Slam from Lowell. Congrats to our home team for taking top honors, and huge ups to Mill City for making us hungry for sticky buns, to Pulp Slam for setting us firmly inside our bodies, and to Slam Free for asking us the most important lunchtime philosophical questions a five-person group piece with a three-person pyramid can.

Next week: Cantab short-timer and admitted heart-stealer Anna Binkovitz loops back around from her whirlwind move to New York City to give us a farewell feature. And, lucky you: if you like this slam thing, the sixth slam in our 8×8 series will be open to all at 11:00 p.m.

Tips from the Bar: Flood Warning

This week, you may have noticed that your phone provides a very loud and emphatic emergency weather warning (even if you are one or more counties away from the potentially dangerous weather). Imagine another alert you really wish your phone would give you to help you avoid disaster.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 18, 2018: NorthBEAST Regional 4×4 Team Slam

Ahhh, ninety-degree weather, empty seats at your favorite coffee shop, and a Cantab packed with competitive New Englanders: it must be the height of slam season, and that means our second (of two) Nationals-style 4×4 team slams. Tonight we’ll welcome four Nationals-bound slam teams to our sweaty cement floor for a four-round slam: Slam Free or Die, the Mill City Slam Team, Pulp Slam, and our very own home team!

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. Cover charge is $5 to help raise funds for our team to travel to Nationals in Chicago 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 11, 2018

What a sweet, sweet summer night back from our holiday break, Cantabbers; thanks so much to everyone who came out to workshop with Lyd Havens, pump up our open mic with your new work & new faces, listen in and support Lyd’s graceful arc of a feature, and hold steady for slam host Zeke’s rockin’ return to the stage. We were so lucky to have so many hours of Lyd’s time and art this week, and if you are itching to see even more of their work, let us please recommend a visit to the FEMS workshop and slam going on this Sunday, July 15 at the Lucy Parsons Center in JP.

Our slam, by the way, was a tender foursome bringing lots of new work to the mic; the final pairing came down to Lihi Zaks against Mugs Myers. In a sweet twist of fate, Mugs took the top honors in the final round with a poem inspired by– and with credit to– his opponent Lihi. Community! Poetry! And also $10 for Mugs, as well as an invite to the upcoming Champion of Champions slam.

Next week: we return with our second (and final) of two summer team slams! This Nationals-style 4×4 will feature competitors from Pulp Slam, Slam Free or Die, Mill City Slam, and your very own home team, all with Kieran Collier at the hosting helm. Heads up: this show will have a five dollar cover to help raise funds to send the team to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago in August.

Tips from the Bar: Hot Enough for you?

Write about a time when you found the weather pleasant and appropriate to your needs. No, really.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 11, 2018: Lydia Havens

Boise poet Lydia Havens. Photo by Rylan Elias.

Boise poet Lydia Havens. Photo by Rylan Elias.

Lydia Havens is a poet, editor and community organizer currently living in Boise, Idaho. Their work has previously been published in Winter Tangerine, Cosmonauts Avenue, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Voicemail Poems, among others. They were a member of the 2017 Boise Poetry Slam team, which placed 7th at group piece finals at the National Poetry Slam, and represented Boise at the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam, ranking 22nd out of 90 poets. Lyd’s first full-length collection, Survive Like the Water, was published by Rising Phoenix Press in January 2017.

Lyd will also offer an early-bird generative poetry writing workshop prior to the show. Click here to learn more about the workshop.

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.