The Boston Poetry Slam holds an open mic every Wednesday at the Cantab as part of the weekly show. The Cantab open mic is nationally renowned as one of the best of its kind; it lasts for two hours, is the most well-attended portion of the show, and frequently sells out well before the feature takes the stage.
You may read your own poetry, prose, performance poetry, advertisement for a poetry venue, one-act play, six-person group piece, sixth grade diary entry, stump speech, political diatribe, nonsense verse, New Formalism, Olde Formuleism, machine code, Morse code, ode to an audience member who got up to go to the bathroom during your stage time, or you may read any of the above belonging to any other author as long as you give appropriate credit. Your work does not have to be memorized. If it’s your first time reading at the Cantab Lounge, do let the audience know so they can welcome you appropriately!
The open mic list goes up as soon as the doors open at 7:15 and usually fills before the show begins at 8:00. The following restrictions apply to all readers on the open mic:
- You may enter your name in one spot on the open mic list. Another person may sign you up, but no person may enter more than two names on the open mic list.
- Each open mic slot represents about three minutes of stage time. You may read as many poems as you like during that time. If you overstay your welcome, the host will ask you to leave the stage in order to bring up the next reader.
- If your name is called and you are not in the venue, you will forfeit your stage time.
- You may not sign up for both the open mic and the poetry slam on the same night.
- Please note that the open mic is intended for unaccompanied spoken word only! Musically inclined poets may wish to visit the Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam on Sunday nights.
At the end of the open mic, the bartender provides a writing prompt, after which the hosts, bar, and support staff read to close the open part of the show. A short intermission follows, then the featured event takes the stage.