Is it still 2014, Cantabbers? Good news: from our poetry perspective, this year is awesome so far! We had a fun-sized open mic last night with a good group of solid newcomers, plus a great selection of folks returning from winter break, regulars trying out a new voice for 2014, and a few long-distance travelers who heard we had a killer feature lined up. Oh, and that feature? It was Casey Rocheteau, a long-time New Englander and once-upon-a-time Cantab open mic-er, on a visit to us from NYC. Casey rattled our hearts with a selection of almost-all new-to-us work, some fresh to the page and some from her 2012 book, Knocked Up On Yes. Casey doesn’t have another feature scheduled in the area any time soon, but you can always travel to see her: she’s curating a brand-new series called ALL the RAGE that kicks off on January 23 with a super-hot feature, and you are totally invited.
After Casey’s feature, we rolled right into the wicked crazy Champion of Champions slam! Even with a few folks out of town and one sitting the night out, our line-up was totally stellar: Janae Johnson, Nora Meiners, Zanne Langlois, Sierra Lister, and Sean Patrick Mulroy lined up to
offer themselves as the 2014 Boston Poetry Slam Team challenge reigning Champion Tom Slavin for the venue title. The five-poet format meant we got to hear two poems from everyone without an elimination, which led to a great show with each poet trying on a few voices for the judges. The last 8×8 pairing came down to Janae Johnson and Sean Patrick Mulroy: although Janae, who is also the reigning Lizard Lounge champ, held a commanding lead for the first two rounds, Sean took the head-to-head in the third for the season title!
Sean then went on to challenge Tom Slavin for all the marbles. Having previously lost to Tom during his Reign of Terror in July of 2013, Sean came prepared; both poets brought strong, memorized work to the brand-new poem round, with Sean opting for informal storytelling and Tom showing off a formal rhyme scheme. After deliberation from some overall highly consistent judges (seriously, we want these guys to come back for the Prelims on January 22), Sean took the win over Tom, 3-2. The champ has been defeated –Tom held the title starting April 24, 2013– long live the champ! Congratulations to Sean, who’ll be invited to defend his title this coming April.
Next week: oh, boy, this week was so good, we almost forgot about next week. Almost, but we are better now… The awesome and remarkable music writer, sports critic, and amazeballs poet Hanif Abdurraqib will be in town from Columbus to burn up our stage. It’s worth noting that Hanif will also be an honored guest writer at our next Encyclopedia Show this coming Monday, January 13: the show is at the Davis Square Theatre and the topic will be Hockey. See you there!