Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 31, 2019

It’s been a rare and joyous July, poets and listeners: with an extra bonus Wednesday to enjoy this month, we were pleased to welcome Nkosi Nkululeko, anthologized Best American Poet (yes!) for 2018 and fabled-and-real-life-chess instructor to the stage for our fifth and final show in the humid heart of this summer. Nkosi’s work, impeccably crafted and nested gently in a stream of welcoming and gently fun banter, elicited both admiring silence and involuntary whistling ooh-oohs from a deeply attentive audience. Thanks so much to Nkosi for making the trip from Harlem!

Next week: we are back with a double-header of amazing shows! First, Terah Ehigiator kicks off a month of features from the 2019 Boston Poetry Slam Team (our very own Irresponsible Birds) on Wednesday, August 7, followed by an open slam (your chance to qualify for the 2020 team!). Then, the very next night on August 8, we’ll head down the street to Harvard Square to see Terah, Nkosi, and a host of other Boston and New York City all-stars go head-to-head in the first local Tender Match between these two cities.

The Tender Match this Thursday will be our biggest show of the year, held in the fine theater space at Oberon at 2 Arrow St. and featuring comedy from Wes Hazard, music from New York theater artist Britt, and a wildly all-star slam hosted by Omar Holmon. YES, IT IS GOING TO SELL OUT: we recommend you get your tickets in advance to avoid the depths of missed-poetry regret.

Tips from the Bar: What’s a Cantab?

Describe an advance of planning, prep work, or advance communication that would make your job, emotional growth, or daily life much, much easier– despite the fact that you know you will never do it.

Cantab Feature for July 31, 2019: Nkosi Nkululeko

Poets House fellow and Best American anthologized poet Nkosi Nkululeko. Photo courtesy Robyn Espaillat.

Poets House fellow and Best American anthologized poet Nkosi Nkululeko. Photo courtesy Robyn Espaillat.

Nkosi Nkululeko, writer, chess instructor, and musician, is a 2017 Poets House fellow. His poetry can be found in Callaloo, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Offing, Ploughshares, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Nkosi is a recipient of the 2019 Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and is the winner of the 2018 Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets. His poem “Skin Deep,” formerly published by The Adroit Journal, was selected for The Best American Poetry 2018 anthology (Scribner, 2018). Nkosi Nkululeko lives in Harlem, New York.

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, July 24, 2019

Haha extremely funny! But also awkward! But also endearing! But also intense! But also incredibly well-crafted and basically a clinic on how to take a feature seriously while filling the audience with joy and dreams, wow! Our best of all possible thanks to Melissa Lozada-Oliva, last week’s featured poet, who started the night with a workshop on humor and shared her latest project with us, I’m Scared But I’ve Been Here Before, during her feature set.

Next week: we welcome another New York City poet, musician and chess instructor Nkosi Nkululeko, to our stage. Nkosi, by the way, is one of seven NYC writers who’ll be taking on our Boston crew in Harvard Square on August 8’s Tender Match: check out the OBERON website for ticking info.

Tips from the Bar: You Wish You’d Been Billy Barnum

Write or print out an older poem of yours that you’ve let out into the world, but that you think could use some updating or editing. Create a new poem around, over, and in its margins.

Cantab Workshop for July 24, 2019 with Melissa Lozada-Oliva: Not Funny Haha Haha

Arrive in advance of tonight’s event for an early-bird workshop at the Cantab Lounge before the show. The one-hour workshop has limited space and begins at 5:30, with latecomers admitted no later than 6:00. This is a generative workshop that is open to anyone who wants to write a poem and contribute to the night’s feeling of community.

Workshop leader Melissa Lozada-Oliva is the author of Peluda (Button Poetry) and chapbooks Plastic Pajaros and Rude Girl Is Lonely Girl (pizza pi press), and a previous member of the House Slam national slam team. She is an MFA candidate at NYU and lives in Brooklyn. Learn more about Melissa, who will also be the featured poet for the night, at this link.

DESCRIPTION FROM THE WORKSHOP LEADER: Not Funny Haha Haha
In this workshop we will be examining using humor in poetry & the effect it has on catharsis. We will learn how successful jokes & successful metaphors use the same formulas; examine different forms of humor (such as irony, hyperbole & meme culture); learn that confidence in performance is just illusion & how to honor our ability as poets to tell the truth. Were those the best uses of semi-colons? I truly don’t know. Ultimately, this is about how to be a good storyteller & how this involves accessing all of your charms, baby!

Cover charge is $5-$20 sliding scale, which includes admission to the evening show. We ask financially stable poets to consider contributing the higher end of this scale (or more) in order to defer costs for others and support this teaching artist’s generous donation of time to our space.

Due to the constraints of the venue, this workshop has limited space; room can be guaranteed to poets who identify as POC or queer. The best way to secure a spot in the workshop is to send an email.

The venue is 18+ and a photo ID is required. For more information on the night’s open mic, click here.

Cantab Feature for July 24, 2019: Melissa Lozada-Oliva

House favorite and pizza pi author Melissa Lozada-Oliva. Photo by Malania.

House favorite and pizza pi author Melissa Lozada-Oliva. Photo by Malania.

Melissa Lozada-Oliva is the author of Peluda (Button Poetry) and chapbooks Plastic Pajaros and Rude Girl Is Lonely Girl (pizza pi press). Her work has been featured in Muzzle, the Adroit Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Remezcla, BBC Mundo and her mom’s Facebook statuses. She is an MFA candidate at NYU and lives in Brooklyn.

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 Feature for July 17, 2019: Camonghne Felix

Poet and political strategist Camonghne Felix. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Poet and political strategist Camonghne Felix. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Camonghne Felix, M.A. is a poet, a writer, speaker, & political strategist living in New York City. She received an M.A. in Arts Politics from NYU, an MFA from Bard College, & has received Fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo & Poets House.

Her first full-length collection of poems, Build Yourself a Boat, was a 2017 University of Wisconsin Press Brittingham & Pollak Prize finalist, a 2017 Fordham University Poets Out Loud semi-finalist, & is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in 2019. The author of the chapbook Yolk, she was recently listed by Black Youth Project as a “Black Girl From the Future You Should Know.”

Felix’s work has been published in BuzzFeed, Poetry Magazine, Apogee, The Offing, the Academy of American Poets website, & more. She’s also been featured in New York Women’s Foundation Magazine, Brooklyn Poets, Politico, Teen Vogue digital, Huffington Post & more.

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, July 10, 2019

This week, we welcomed YesYes author, Pamet River Prizewinner, and NYU MFA Diannely Antigua to the stage. This smart and unapologetic poet plied her charisma and craft-deep knowledge of form to surprise, shake up, and delight the audience. She totally sold out of books, but if you’re looking to catch your collection up, you can get one directly from the publisher here.

Next Wednesday: the incomparable Camonghne Felix visits from New York City to take the stage. This poet, writer, speaker, and political strategist will also have her brand-new book, Build Yourself a Boat, in the house for you. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: While You’re Working on the Real Revolution

Consider a terrible or unnecessary revolution: the Arts & Crafts Revolution, the Counterclockwise Lawn-Mowing Movement, etc. Write it out and see what changes.