Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Oh, you think CUPSI’s thinks it’s ready for New England? We know it: YOU’RE NOT READY, CUPSI! Five local teams slammed off in a mock semi-final bout at the Cantab this week, and although the venue was full of love and cross-team support, poets pulled no punches when it came time to hit the stage. The slam was graciously and energetically hosted by our spotlight feature, Tariq Luthun, who’s only just begun to ease into post-CUPSI life himself. You can catch up with Tariq on Twitter or Instagram, or visit his personal website for more details about the work he did for us in the spotlight feature.

Oh, you want slam results? Okay, fine, we got slam results:
1. Emerson College 106.1
2. Simmons College 106.0
3. Berklee College of Music 104.7
4. Northeastern University 102.4
5. University of Massachusetts Boston 99.7

Of course, as you know, the final scores never tell the story. Just looking at the numbers, you wouldn’t know enough to congratulate UMass Boston for their work in their first! regional! ever! leading up to their first trip to the collegiate national slam. This brandy-new team with four very individually developed voices showed poise and great spirit at their first Cantab showing; let’s hope we see these poets back again soon!

You might also not know this, but Northeastern will be making their first trip to CUPSI as a team this year, too. Already with at least one group poem in their pocket (shhhhh), this confident group is ready to turn some heads and shake up some scores in Austin next week.

Smack in the middle at third place in the slam was the always-solid group from Berklee. Coached by a one-time Boston Poetry Slam Team member who also slammed in the Bay, the team’s east-west sound always catches the Cantab ear. Bringing multiple polished duets to the stage, and, uh, one national champion already on their team, Berklee is guaranteed to storm into their prelim bouts coming up at CUPSI.

Oh, and “second place?” What is that, even, by 0.1? Simmons College, rocking a divide between polished performance work and new poems still. on. page, actually tied for top honors with Emerson in rounds one and two. This engaging group of thoughtful and powerful voices will be a force to be reckoned with at the upcoming tournament.

Lastly, and mathematically mostly, in first place, by it-doesn’t-matter-how-much-because-a-win-is-a-win, the team with perhaps the closest ties to the Cantab: Emerson College. Co-coached by one of the venue’s current team members, Emerson brought solid and unapologetic solo work to the stage, remarkable for both energy and well-executed emotional transition. Congratulations, Emerson!

We wish everyone a fabulous tournament next week in Austin: if you’re keen to follow along, start by checking up for the schedule and bout draw at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational website.

Of course, you can be watching CUPSI scores on April 6, but it’ll have to be in between poems: we’ve got a duo from Thoughtcrime Press in the house! Chicago’s Emily Rose and Ben Clark are touring to support their latest releases, Mouthy and if you turn around I will turn around. We’ll also have the penultimate slam in the 8×8 speed slam series.