Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 8, 2014

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!

Tips from the Bar: The Five-Second Rule

Write about the place where, if you dropped a poem there, you would never consider picking it back up and putting it in your mouth.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 8, 2014: Casey Rocheteau and the Champion of Champions Slam

Casey Rocheteau reminds you that the future is black. Photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Casey Rocheteau reminds you that the future is black. Photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Casey Rocheteau is a Cave Canem Fellow, performs throughout the country, and has lead a variety of writing and performance workshops. She has been involved in slam poetry since 2003 including being a member of the 2012 Providence Slam Team. She’s released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record, self-published four books and her most recent book, Knocked Up on Yes, was released on Sargent Press in 2012. She can be reached at her personal website.

Tonight will also mark the next installment in the Champion of Champions! Tom Slavin, three-time champion, will defend his title against the winner of this season’s 8×8 slam 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. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. The Champions of Champions Slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Moonlighting Recap for January 2, 2014

After a last-minute change of venue (our hosts at Fazenda had to close up shop due to the inclement weather), a small crowd gathered in Dorchester to hear feature Corrina Bain and spotlight performer Stevie Edwards share the poems they’d bundled with them through the snowstorm. Luckily some of our Moonlighters are as persistent as the snow, and they came out to the new venue for a cozy, round-robin style open mic and an intimate performance from the two artists. Stevie shared both poems from her book, Good Grief, and new work. Corrina’s stark, haunting poems and powerful performance filled the new space to the rafters and brought the audience on an exploration of gender and the body in the media and community. He performed some requested hits and some work unfamiliar to the audience. We can’t wait to have Corrina back soon to wow the whole crowd at Fazenda–in slightly milder climes.

Our next Moonlighting feature is TBA, but the date is firm: you can mark Thursday, February 6 in your calendar for the next reading!

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Before you ask, folks… Yes, tonight’s Moonlighting show is on, but our venue has changed! Please see the info at the bottom of this post for more details.

Happy New Year, Boston Poetry Slam fans! Thanks so much to everyone who came out to celebrate with us and Stevie Edwards, a truly lovely performer, poet, editor, and educator from Cornell. Stevie helped us purge our old demons and gird ourselves for whatever 2014 has to offer.

Our slammers that night had a similar idea, many of them traveling many miles to be with us for the show! At the end of the night, though, it was two locals left standing: a valiant and poignant effort from Emily Carroll, however, was not enough to defeat a locked-on Oz for the final spot in next week’s Champion of Champions slam.

Next week: that’s right, Tom Slavin will be defending his title against the last eight slam winners! And and AND, as though that were not enough, professional badass and pull-no-punches real-talker Casey Rocheateau will be our featured poet. Excellent!

Of course, if you are craving more poetry just this minute, there’s always our Moonlighting show with Corrina Bain tonight! We did hear about that little snowstorm thingy, but Corrina was already on the way here, so we’re thrilled to host this poet at a NEW, CHANGED, AND PRIVATE VENUE in the JP/Dorchester area. For directions, please see the link above, or check out our Facebook event. Stay warm, poets!

Tips from the Bar: Why the Long Face?

A horse walks into a bar. Now what?

Moonlighting: A Queer Open Mic and Reading Series Featuring Corrina Bain on Thursday, January 2, 2014


Due to the inclement weather this evening, Fazenda Coffee Roasters is closed. However, as Corrina had already begun the journey to Boston when the news came in, we will still be offering a show from this remarkable poet.

The venue has changed to a private space in the JP/Dorchester area. Please see the Facebook event (click here) for precise location details and bus/subway directions.

If you are planning to head out tonight, please use caution and good sense! We strongly recommend that you avail yourself of public transportation; Boston has declared a snow emergency, which restricts parking in some areas. Stay safe and enjoy the night!

This reading is part of our monthly LGBTQ series, Moonlighting. Click here for more information about this recurring show.

The featured reader for January 2 is Corrina Bain.

Corrina Bain, Moonlighting feature for January 2, 2014.

Corrina Bain, Moonlighting feature for January 2, 2014.

Corrina Bain is a gender-nonconforming writer, performance artist, educator, and wearer of suspenders. He has an extensive background in poetry slam, and has performed at venues as varied as the Coronet at the Largo Theater in Los Angeles and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Published in anthologies and journals including RATTLE and the Everyman’s Library book Villanelles, he has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times. He lives in Brooklyn and is a social worker in emergency psychiatry. More at

This show in our monthly Thursday LGBTQ series takes place on this one night only at a private residence Fazenda Coffee Roasters, 3710 Washington St. in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston. An open mic begins at approximately 7:00 p.m. and the headliner follows the open mic. The show is all-ages and a $3 donation is requested.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 1, 2014: Stevie Edwards

Stevie Edwards, poet, editor, and educator.

Stevie Edwards, poet, editor, and educator.

Stevie Edwards is a poet, an editor, and an educator. She’s currently a Lecturer in the English Department at Cornell University, where she recently completed her MFA in creative writing. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Good Grief, was released by Write Bloody in 2012 and recently received the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Bronze Prize for Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her latest chapbook, Atomic Girl, is forthcoming from Tired Hearts Press. She is the Editor-in-Chief of MUZZLE Magazine and Assistant Editor in Book Development at YesYes Books. Her poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Indiana Review, Devil’s Lake, PANK, Vinyl, Aim for the Head: An Anthology of Zombie Poetry, and elsewhere.

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 slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, December 25 — NO SHOW

There is no poetry show for Wednesday, December 25, 2013.

Please enjoy the night off. We’ll return to our usual schedule on January 1, 2014!

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cantabbers, for the last Wednesday show of the year, we were super-proud to bring you a feature from a not-so-long-ago local favorite, David Winter. Now a resident of New York City, David returned home for the season and brought us the impeccably crafted, carefully delivered poems that have always landed so beautifully in our listening room. What an excellent reunion to celebrate the end of the year.

Following David’s feature was our first-ever Sestina Slam– a two-sestina, all-form competition that brought in eight hard-thinking writers and five very serious judges, including special guest celebrity judge Tom Daley. Emily O’Neill and Chloé Cunha kicked in the door as a dual sacrifice to get the judges in the mood for the sestina sound; Chloé also kicked in the clock with a wicked time penalty, assessed to the angry dismay of a vastly entertained crowd. Some exceptional work came from all of our readers, including Gemma Cooper-Novack (an early sign-up for the slam and one of the event’s inspirations), Jade Sylvan (right in the midst of a sestina-writing frenzy for a related project of her own), and Patrick S. (who’s been successfully slamming sestinas for years).

Some of the night’s most memorable moments commuted to us from Slam Free or Die locals: Mckendy Fils-Aimé made the strategically questionable but admirably nerdy decision to slam a sestina about Pokemon battling, whereas Christopher Clauss achieved the second round only to be eliminated after his nuanced piece about the Mandela memorial sign language interpreter. The big story of the night, however, had to be Jonah Comstock and Nathan Comstock: after drawing one another in the last pairing in the first round, each presented carefully crafted work about Mos Eisley and Harry Potter… Only to tie and be called back to the stage to present two more sestinas.

Nathan took the first round win and eventually advanced to the final round, where he met up with a crowd-walking Sean Patrick Mulroy in the final dramatic pairing. Nathan won the title for most poems read (four to Sean’s three), but Sean took home the high score and the $10. What a night!

We’ll be on break for the 25th of December this year, but don’t worry: the Boston Poetry Slam will be back with a vengeance (not exactly like Die Hard, which is Carlos Williams‘ favorite Christmas movie, by the way) before the calendar year is over. You can catch Kevin Spak producing our evening show at First Night on Tuesday, December 31… Then swing by for the return of our Wednesday series on Wednesday, January 1 with Stevie Edwards… And finish ringing in your New Year right with Moonlighting on January 2. Looks like a grand year for poetry already!