Cantab Recap For Wednesday, May 29th, 2024

Michael: We had another great night this past Wednesday at the Cantab! The open mic featured the returns of old regulars Dank The Poet, Kelsey Kessler, and Ilse (“It’s my 13th time on the mic!”), along with new regulars Phoebe, Abe, and Cam S. Special shoutout to veteran Cantabber Meaghan Ford, who returned with an announcement that they just signed a book deal with Button Poetry! Congrats, Meaghan!

For the smoking section, Nayeli introduced each staff member with a little something that staff member loves about their mom, which was fitting as Nayeli brought her mom to the show!

Myles: I think it is necessary here to mention our own Michael F. Gill, who, during the smoking section, IMPROVISED A CONTRAPUNTAL. That’s right — MFG used voice-to-text to keep track of both of his poems, and the complete read-through gave it a heartwarming conclusion that worked SO well. I can only hope this contrapuntal ends up in the Cantabernacle.

Michael: The✏️ Line of the Wednesday✏️ is from the soon-to-be-leaving-us Jacq Roderick, with “If I knew this was a dream / I would’ve told you I loved you

After the break, we had our first ever CONTRAPUNTAL SLAM, and it turned out to be one of the most competitive slams of the year! In the first two rounds, we heard the left and right side of each poet’s contrapuntal, and let me tell you, EVERYBODY’S poem sounded like a true standalone poem (!!) which made you really ache to hear how each one could come together in the final round. Sadly, we did not get to hear how the two mirrors combined in Logan’s sibling-coming-of-age piece, or how the jagged puzzle pieces of Katya’s familial fever dream look when interlocked, but we did get to witness an incredible final round of FOUR poets (thanks to a tie!) in the end.

Myles: I want to give particular love to Holly and Jennah, whose Cantab debut took place in tonight’s slam! They wrote a GROUP PIECE CONTRAPUNTAL, which we did not hear all of, but that we are very excited to hopefully hear finished on the mic sometime.

The final round was truly one of my favorite last rounds of a slam I’ve ever seen. Isaiah’s contrapuntal wove therapy sessions with collective grief; Will’s MEMORIZED! (that’s right — left, right, and center memorized) piece spoke to cisgendered expectations; Left Eye’s haunting narrative sought freedom for Palestine and homelands everywhere; finally, 2024 grand slam champion Brynna Boyd told us all about Phyllis Wheatley’s desk.

Michael: In the end, by only three-tenths of a point over both Will and Left Eye, Brynna Boyd was crowned the big winer. The slam was such a success we may bring it back next year!

This Wednesday (tonight!) we have a feature from Massachusetts’ own Dariana Guerrero!

Bio: Dariana Guerrero is a Writer. An Activist. A Lightning Strike Survivor. A Scholar. A Warrior. An Educator. A Fat Liberationist from Lawrence, MA. To see her and to experience her is to be inspired and to be moved to a place of acceptance. She is Body Positive Personified. A proud graduate of Lawrence High School (13’), Dariana attended Smith College and graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing. Dariana is all about seeing and being with others in the most authentic way possible. She breathes magic into the words that she brings forth. In 2022, Dariana was named one of Amplify Latinx’s Amplifiers, for uplifting and sharing the voices of those in Lawrence. Her work has been featured in a wide variety of publications and media including, Caustic Frolic Literary Journal, Exposed Brick Literary Magazine, Glass Poetry Journal, Voices and Visions, Women: A Cultural Review, Witness Magazine, Death Never Dies: Mourning 2020 Through the Lives and Deaths of Public Figures, and most recently on daytime talk show, The Tamron Hall Show. In 2023, Dariana was named a Social Practice Artist in Residence in Lawrence and a 2023 national Periplus Fellow. She is a winner of the 2023 Mass Poetry Community Award for her outstanding poetry and community leadership. Last year Dariana competed in her first poetry slam at the Roxbury Poetry Festival co-hosted by Button Poetry. Dariana recently completed her artist book, The Sancocho Shuffle: A Card Deck Con Sabor,” an artistic remix of her book of poetry “Sancocho.”

See you there!

– MFG 🚪 and Myles ✨

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