Cantab Recap For Wednesday, March 29th, 2023

We like to think every Wednesday at the Cantab is unique, where anything can happen on the open mic or in the slam, and the thrill of that unpredictability is one of the reasons our audience keeps returning, and listening closely to the poetry that is happening in real time. And so, during this week’s open mic, we were treated to a number of exceptional poems and readers who were in town for one-night-only, or who had just showed up to read their “first poem ever,” but ended up leaving the audience breathless. Special shout-out to waitlister Allie (@allieburke_ on instagram), who returned after a six-year gap to perform an enchanting poem shoeless and seemingly off-the-cuff.

Following the open mic, our last chance slam was filled with plenty of drama, including two rounds that were decided by one-tenth of a point! How beautiful and devastating was it to hear Aparna’s extended poem about her mother on her deathbed, and to see long-time regular Raechel Segal finally make it to the last round? Or to watch one of our favorite hosts Briana Crockett take home the big win with three new pieces? Words fall short, but huge thanks to everyone in the audience who stayed with us until the end. Raechel and Briana will be advancing to our big team selection slam later this month, which promises to be one of our biggest slam nights of the year.

This week’s ✏️Line of the Wednesday ✏️ is from first-time open mic-er Paige S: “My mind is an unfinished poem”

Featuring for us this coming Wednesday is veteran slammer and all-around fan of YOU, Karen Garrabrant! Karen Garrabrant aka Karen G co-founded C/literati, a womxn/queer/gender outlaw open mic, was a founding board member of Grrl’s Rock Camp ATL & slam manager of the Art Amok Slam, and operated as a poet & organizer in Atlanta for 20 plus years. She’s been a clock holder, score keeper, MC, bout manager, tournament director & PSI secretary, with a streak of attending every big event from 2004-2017, except for one. She writes about love, grief, loss, and experiences that the late Gabrielle Bouliane described as “all of this is true, none of this is real.” She’s famous for hugs & being a loud cheerleader because life is short. Punk is their gender, Q is their sexuality, they answer to she/they pronouns. Email them at or follow them on instagram @kgarrab.

– MFG 🚪 (filling in for Amy)

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All shows take place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, with one flight of stairs to access the basement room (click for directions and accessibility information). The show is 21+ (ID/Proof of Vaccination required) and doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 PM and the feature begins at approximately 10:00 PM. Due to a current inflation tax on transactions at the Cantab, the door charge will be $4 until further notice.