Cantab Recap For Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

Happy May, Cantab!

We had a lovely workshop, open mic and feature last week, with Sam Bucci serving up an incredible poem from said workshop, Otto Vock returning after their team came in second at the Midwest Mashup (congrats Otto, Meaghan, McKendy, and Alex), and Daniel Letona with a powerful piece on heritage. We also had a particularly notable smoking section, with Kat again bringing bars up from the bar, Briana with some super-fresh shit on the “would you rather be left alone in a forest with a man or a bear” debate, and Aparna with a wonderful 2-year Cantabverssary tribute. 

Before all that though, March Penn hosted a very informative workshop, teaching us about hypotaxis and parataxis, analyzing a few exemplary works, and creating a really generative space for writing. Several workshop attendees performed their poems on the mic later that night! Stay tuned for our next monthly workshop, which happens on the first Wednesday of every month.

This week’s ✏️ Line of the Wednesday ✏️ is from Finn, with “I am mute on nameless streets. My head in a spiral of gemmed fiddlehead fern.” 

We then had an INCREDIBLE feature by Durane West, who maybe broke the record for number of cool forms (specifically, index poems) read on the mic within thirty minutes. We even got a contrapuntal. His work was rich with storytelling, descriptors of the black experience, and coincidentally, powerful parataxis. Thank you Durane!!

This week! We have A BOOK RELEASE from our beloved March Penn!!! March Penn has been a regular on the open mic at Cantab since 2010 and writes about neurodiversity, gender fluidity, queer relationships, chronic illness and creative community building. During the pandemic, they started the DIY MFA / Self-Educating Poets Network to make literary education free and accessible using online resources. March’s first full-length book, Green Antelope Fire, is out with Game Over Books.

See you then!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

What’s up Cantabbers!? We had a wicked, wacky Wednesday for you all last week! Cameron not only performed a poem for us, but we were serenaded in song as well! We had great debuts from Phoebe and Apollo, a Cantabverssary poem from Shawn, and a poem from Jack Chassay that left us floored and left him… on the floor!

The ✏️Line of the Wednesday ✏️ is from Phoebe, with “I left God a voicemail while you stayed on the line until I fell asleep.”

We had the express lane (featuring a great poem dedicated to flatulence by the Bus Stop Prophet) and the smoking section (featuring Kat, coming up from the bar WITH bars), and then….

The Fresh Ink Slam! All new shit, all night! We had ten slammers take the stage, including first timers Frank and Kelly Erin bringing the HEAT! We had an incredible poem by the great Sam Bucci after a short hiatus, some great storytelling from Edie, and the usual evocative heavy-hitters from Youssef. There was also not one, not two, but THREE ties, and the slam went all the way into Thursday morning (like 12:01am on Thursday morning, but still). Thank you to our very patient judges, who in total judged TWENTY poems (that’s like listening to poems non-stop for almost an entire hour). 

After a tight final round with Edie, Kaitie D., Kelly Erin, and March, the winner was announced. March Penn took home the 50 bucks and the title of Freshest Ink in All the Land! Thank you to all the slammers and everyone who stayed to watch this great event.

Speaking of March Penn, they are hosting the WORKSHOP before today’s show! The workshop is called “Your Notebook Is Your Museum.” 

This workshop is inspired by former Cantab poet Carrie Rudzinski who kept notebooks full of interesting turns of phrases, and then later strung them together to craft amazing poems. Carrie is excellent at a writing technique known as parataxis, when a writer uses short phrases without connecting them with conjunctions or other coordinating words. Writers are encouraged to bring old notebooks, diaries, or drafts, but starting a fresh notebook or notes app on a cellphone is fine too. All funds raised on this workshop will be donated to Game Over Books to support this small, struggling press after loss of their distribution.

The workshop will start at 6:30 and have a capacity of 18 participants, so get there early! Note: Workshop attendees get first access to the open mic list. The workshop cost is $10-20 (sliding scale).

Also, your feature tonight is Durane West! Durane West is a spoken word artist and educator, and he was born and raised in Boston. He channels intense imagery, and intuitive emotional exploration to showcase transparency in his writing. Through versatile form usage and raw introspective diction, West offers his readers a sneak peek into his closeted mind. West has several years of experience working in the non-profit sector for organizations that aim to improve literacy skills for inner city youth throughout Boston. In 2022, West was nominated by the Boston Music Awards for Spoken Word Artist of the Year. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture published his poem “617” which he performed in a short film. West leads workshops for a multidisciplinary arts education program at the Institute of Contemporary Art. 

See you soon!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

Happy Wednesday everyone! Last week was one of the most sold-out shows we have had in a long time, with the basement reaching capacity before 7:45, and an additional 15-to-20 people waiting upstairs! Also, we had Kat, our wonderful social media manger, behind the bar for the first time! A wonderful bartending debut.

The open mic was fabulous, with surprise special guest Tongo Eisen-Martin, the poet laureate of San Francisco, reading a powerful piece early in the night (come see his feature on July 3rd!). Other highlights include Ribs’ trans stand-up comedy/poetry rousing the crowd into a frenzy, Isaiah reading a special birthday poem (happy birthday!), Arielle with another from-the-bar instant classic, and slam team member Brynna making a wonderful hosting debut! 

This week’s ✏️Line of the Wednesday✏️ is from Isaiah, with “grief is how any plant knows that sunlight exists when all it can see is the moon “

We then had a fabulous MFG-hosted haiku slam. After some great mashups, the slam ended with a virtual tie between Brynna and TJ Jones. Michael even asked the audience to vote twice, and although it remained incredibly close, TJ had the slightest edge and won the $17!

We then had our feature, Lynne Schmidt. Lynne brought her service dog, Zoe, who very politely sat on stage and watched the whole open mic! Lynne’s work holds your hand as she guides you through some incredibly hard topics, detailing the visceral emotions that one can hold through tough times and how those emotions can change over time or linger. Notably, Lynne also had a very lovely and well-designed merch table. Thank you Lynne. 

This week, it’s SLAM TIME! After our open mic, we will have the Fresh Ink Slam. The theme is fresh ink, meaning never-before-heard poems (at least, never heard by us). Can I get a “NEW SHIT!”?  (Editor: You can.) Rules: 3 rounds, and you must have 3 ORIGINAL poems under 3 minutes.

See you Wednesday!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

What a Wednesday Cantab! It’s not every week where a birthday and a feature are celebrated at the same time, but that was the case with our feature tonight, Greg Smith! The open mic was excellent, highlights included Arielle Gray’s “I don’t know how to end conversations” piece, and powerful poems from Meaghan Ford and Sara H about domestic violence that really shook the room. Special shout out to the express lane this week, where the 1-minute poems from Ember, Kat Gunther, Finn, Cho, and Mckendy were sneakily one of the best back-to-back poem sequences of the night.

The ✏️Line of the Wednesday✏️ is from Youssef, with: “What is your religion? / What is the name of your mother and the work of your father?”

Our feature and birthday-celebrator Greg Smith gave us an energetic, exuberant, echoing feature, diving into stories of their past and even their future. Greg makes you feel things I can guarantee you’ve never felt before, and the image of a Phoenix rising from a bathroom sink is forever burned in my mind. 

This week, we have a feature from Lynne Schmidt! Lynne Schmidt is the queer, neurodivergent grandchild of a Holocaust survivor. Their latest chapbook, The Unaccounted for Circles of Hell, will be published with Stanchion in January 2024, and Dying Dog Poems will be published later in 2024. Their chapbook SexyTime was a winner of the 2021 The Poetry Question Chapbook Contest, and Dead Dog Poems was the 2020 New Women’s Voices Contest winner. In 2012 they started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers her pack of dogs and one cat to humans.

See you then!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

Hi Cantab! Now that Team Selection is over, the hype, sold out nights, and crazy energy has finally come to an en- oh… wait… I’m being told by my producers that last Wednesday was in fact just as hype, sold out, and crazy energy as last month!

One of the most notable aspects of the night was when Cameron (aka “Professor Philip Plumberly”) recited a satiric poem in his excellent mostly-British character, and while I cannot describe the raucous experience of the poem, I can say the line “her excellent boobies” was said. Newcomer Donovan also blew us away with his poem about his “body electric.” Perhaps the highlight of the night was new regular Lys McGuire performing a completely improvised poem based on the word “apples” shouted from the back of the room. It was so good I think half the audience didn’t realize it was improv until halfway through the poem!

The ✏️Line of the Wednesday✏️ goes to Siraj, with “I am just a human who eats too much joy”

Before the open mic, we had an evocative workshop led by our own staff member and incredible host, Nayeli. The workshop was incredibly generative and featured analysis of two bodies of work (from sources as diverse as Gertrude Stein and Earl Sweatshirt), and a whole fruit tableau, spotlit on the stage.

After the open mic, the beloved veteran Cantabber Brian S. Ellis provided us with a jaw-droppingly fantastic feature. We all got the privilege of existing within the world Brian’s words create. There were tales of the perils of copywriting, Occam’s razor, and honestly what it means to live. There was not one, but two standing ovations, a truly one-of-a-kind feature. Thank you Brian!! You can also re-watch Brian’s feature on our instagram here.

Psst! This month is National Poetry Writing Month, so be sure to interact with the “Take a Prompt, Leave a Prompt” cup we have set up at the front table, and get writing!

This week, it’s not just a feature, it’s a BOOK RELEASE SHOW! Gregory Smith (They/Them) is drinking wine right now. They can solve a 7×7 Rubik’s cube in only (1) penalty overtime work shift. You can find them sharing kandi bracelets with Metalheads or backswinging at a warehouse rave. They have been serving on staff at New Hampshire’s longest-running poetry slam and open mic series, Slam Free Or Die in Manchester, New Hampshire, since 2018. They also were chosen as Slam Free Or Die’s Indie Slam Champion and IWPS representative (in abstentia) in 2018. Their poetry has appeared in Bullshit Lit, The People’s Book Volume 2, Verum Literary Journal, Rockview Reader, Rectangles, and on NHPR.com. Their debut full-length collection, Profligate Angel, is forthcoming from Game Over Books. They’re an Aries and therefore are here to spit fire and truth, no matter the cost.

See you then!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, March 27th, 2024

Michael: Hey poetry fans! Have you recovered yet from our biggest Wednesday show of the past two years? Last week’s open mic had the return of old friends Gemma Cooper-Novack and Raechel Segal, a “secret agent trans” group piece from Meaghan Ford, Otto Vock, and Alex Kist, as well as great work from first-timers Ronnie G, Kayla S, Orion, and Kai B. But let’s get straight into the team selection finals slam recap! Our show curator Myles Taylor will take it from here.

Myles: This slam was so intense that I’ve decided to write the recap as a play-by-play, in homage to the tradition of live-tweeting or live-facebooking slams as they go. Each of these poets fought their asses off and I want to memorialize this slam in as much detail as I can.

Your sacs were Kat Anderson and Keaton Howl, two regular powerhouses you may remember from team preliminaries. Kat brought us an open mic favorite about their (lack of) oral history, and Keaton gave us a moving tribute to a past slam mentor. Their scores were 24.1 and 25.9 respectively, establishing our judges with a fairly Cantab-standard range of mid 7’s to low 9’s. 

Mary Schwabenland kicked us off with the emotional rollercoaster “Breaking Up With God,” and Logan Lopez followed with a gorgeous new poem about speaking Spanish to their friend’s new baby. Both poems scored in the same range as the sacs. Then, in the 3rd slot, Brynna Boyd came out with a new poem about a hole in her heart that blew the room open completely, rocketing the scores to a 28.7. Jennifer Martinez followed with her classic polished slam piece with its iconic opening, “Big Breasted Beauty,” hitting a .5 time penalty but garnering the only 10.0 of the night, establishing herself as a poet to contend with. Katya Zinn’s piece about sweeping broken glass and Kaitie Dilán’s poem about family, in the 5th and 6th slots, were .2 away from each other (25.9 and 26.1), while Sara H’s anger poem and Amy Argentar’s brand new piece about being a rebel scored an identical 24.9 in the 8th and 9th. In between those sets, past team member Aparna Paul set herself apart with Man Lies, scoring a 27.2 despite a .5 time penalty.

By the time the dust cleared after round one, Brynna Boyd and Aparna Paul had set themselves ahead of the pack with Jennifer Martinez in a good position behind them. The last two slots, however, were anyone’s game, and the intensity grew. Host Nayeli Wessel-Meadows performed a sorbet poem for us to reset the room and the slam resumed. Brynna started the round with “Louisiana Crab Shack,” a laugh-and-cry nuanced piece that scored high enough to mathematically guarantee her a spot on the team (yes, already!!)). Amy Argentar followed with an ode to Jeopardy (26.9) and Kaitie Dilán read a new piece involving trauma and cole slaw (26.1). Winning round two was Aparna Paul’s I Dream My Mother On Her Deathbed (which you can officially watch on Button Poetry! Go on, do it) with a 28.0, mathing her onto the team as well. Jennifer Martinez followed with a softer piece about depression and collected a 26.6, putting her in a leading position but not scoring high enough to guarantee her a slot. Round two was halfway over and the last three team spots could be snagged by anybody.

Logan’s poem about moving apartments and queer family warmed hearts and shed tears, getting a 27.1. Sara H’s ode to her cat Oreo, the he/him lesbian, was adored by the audience and resulted in both a 26.6 and probably my favorite photo from the slam (a good old fashioned muscle flex). At this point in the slam, Jennifer Martinez became officially mathed onto the team behind Brynna and Aparna.

In the penultimate slot, Mary Schwabenland – remember, from the 1st round? – impressed the judges with their ode to the Longfellow Bridge, raising scores to a 27.6. This bumped Mary’s final score above Jennifer’s, mathing Mary onto the team (from the 1!!!!!). This meant there was one slot left and one poet left – Kaitie Dilán was, at this time, positioned for 5th. Katya Zinn closed out the slam with some new shit – from their journal! – about the movements of worms, among other things. Katya got a 26.4, just enough to bump her into the 5th team slot by literally one tenth of a point. This was maybe one of the wildest things I’ve seen in slam and I am frankly still reeling. 

The final standings are as follows:

  1. Brynna Boyd – 56.1
  2. Aparna Paul – 55.2
  3. Mary Schwabenland – 53.4
  4. Jennifer Martinez – 53.1
  5. Katya Zinn – 52.3
  6. Kaitie Dilán – 52.2
  7. (TIE) Logan Lopez – 51.8
  8. (TIE) Amy Argentar – 51.8
  9. Sara Hill – 51.5

Let it be known that these poets fought their way through an open slam season and preliminary slam to get onto this list, and so to be at the bottom of this slam is still to be one of the season’s winners. All 9 of these poets deserve praise and congratulations for their valiant efforts in this stupid, chance-fueled bar game. Thank you to everyone who came out, everyone who judged, and everyone who supported a slammer, as well as to my bout staff Zeke Russell and Michael F. Gill. Finally, a huge thanks to everyone who has ever slammed at the Cantab and helped create this ridiculous tradition. 

Get ready to catch this team representing us at the NorthBeast Regional, July 20-21 in Cambridge, MA! And come to the Cantab this week for a feature from all-time-Cantab-favorite from the past, Brian S Ellis!

-Myles ✨

Cantab Recap For Wednesday, March 20th, 2024

Amy: Happy first Wednesday of Spring Cantab! We had a lovely show last week. Georgia came back after not just years, but decades, to perform a poem. Second-timer Dave read some absolutely killer wordplay on the perils of dating apps. Shout out to first-timer Rin who unofficially wins the also-unofficial “getting the crowd going” award for the night, with a wild mix of poetry and edgy stand-up.

And now, a haiku to pass it off to Michael: after the open / seventeen bucks on the line / a short but sweet slam!

Michael: Thanks Amy! Our monthly haiku slam series continued this week, and it was such a sensation that it deserved a larger mention in this week’s recap. Haiku slammers have learned that you need to go for the jugular in the first round, which usually means some form of comedy and/or sex related haiku. Jacq Roderick, March Penn, and Sarah King were all rewarded for this in the first round, but when [s.m.]DECKER and Amy both went for the outrageous in the same round, the audience had a more difficult time picking a clear winner. Seeing this as an opportunity for a palette cleanser, finalists Jacq and Sarah shifted their haiku to be more personal, with Jacq coming out victorious in the end!

Amy: Thanks Michael! Now, moving to the astounding off-book feature we had from the great Amanda Shea! Her emotive pieces on love, loss, and how to find the most genuine parts of yourself and society, left the audience dazzled. This hard-working poet deserves all your praises. 

This week! We have … drumroll please…. The TEAM SELECTION FINALS!! 9 poets will compete in a 2-round slam that is guaranteed to be the best adrenaline-thumping, voice-hoarsing, competitive, and exciting slam of the season!! You do NOT want to miss this! The top 5 slammers will be henceforth our 2024 Boston Poetry Slam Team, with the 6th being the alternate. The competing poets are as follows:

  • Sara Hill
  • Mary Schwabenland
  • Logan Lopez
  • Jennifer Martinez
  • Kaitie Dilán
  • Amy Argentar
  • Katya Zinn
  • Aparna Paul
  • Brynna Boyd

Also, psst…. It’s not just the slam that’s this week, it’s our TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of our grand re-opening! Thank you to everyone, new or veteran, that has supported and been a part of this great community.

See you then!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, March 13th, 2024

Amy: What a week Cantab! I’ll just get straight into it. The open mic was full, sold out, and electric with excitement! The night started off with Cameron performing two pieces, one of which being a completely memorized reciting of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, which turned into an unintentional group piece, with several audience members joining in a poetry chorus of “Beware the Jabberwock,” and “Callooh! Callay!”

Other highlights include Briana from Masspoetry performing a passionate piece, Kai’s return after a brief hiatus with a green thumb poem about what it means to have roots, and a great debut from newcomer Casey! I would also like to note that time seems to stop in the Cantab basement, proven once again by Nayeli thinking St. Patrick’s Day was a week before it actually is (and no one correcting her). 

The line of the Wednesday is “This rot has carried / a stone garden heart around” by Kai Wallin

Now, I’ll pass it to Myles with the recap of the second preliminary slam that took place!

Myles: Hey folks – this is Myles reporting from Preliminary 2. I’m gonna go ahead and say this was an absolute bloodbath. Amy Argentar gave us two poems new to our stage but polished like she’d done them for years. Aparna Paul and Jennifer Martinez brought out edited and memorized iterations from Cantab slams past. Mary Schwabenland and Keaton Howl gave us spirited performances of their tried-and-true work, and Kat and March read us a gorgeous and intimate mix of newer and older pieces. But as we know in slam, someone has to come out on top. The poets moving on to finals are: 

  1. (TIE) Aparna Paul – 55.6
  2. (TIE) Amy Argentar – 55.6 
  3. Jennifer Martinez – 55.0
  4. Mary Schwabenland – 53.0 

The poets not moving on but who were essential to the quality of this show are Keaton Howl, March Penn, and Kat Anderson. Keaton and March (another tie!) will be invited back to sacrifice or sorbet at our finals on March 27th. Big thanks to our judges, four of which were brand new to our venue (!) and one of which was a wonderful regular and representative from the staff at Mass Poetry, Briana Cohen. 

All of this means that finals on March 27th will feature the following poets:

  • Sara Hill
  • Mary Schwabenland
  • Logan Lopez
  • Jennifer Martinez
  • Kaitie Dilán
  • Amy Argentar
  • Katya Zinn
  • Aparna Paul
  • Brynna Boyd

Whew! What a list! You’ll be there, right?! Good! Because you won’t want to miss this one. Back to you, Amy!

Amy: Thanks Myles! Now, we have two Wednesdays until our Team Selection finals, but this week is definitely one you do not want to miss! Amanda Shea is a renowned spoken word and multidisciplinary artist, educator, performer, artivist, publicist, and mother. She’s hosted BAMSFest and countless poetry events; she facilitates youth workshops for spoken word poetry, visual arts, and public speaking; she is a publicist for hip hop artist Brandie Blaze; she has managed and supported countless other artists in Boston. In 2021, she was named among WBUR The ARTery’s 25 artists of color transforming the cultural landscape. Shea co-founded and curated six iterations of Activating ARTivism, a community festival to amplify POC through art, activism, and resistance. Importantly, it has raised awareness and provided support for local nonprofits like Mission Safe, The New England Innocence Project, Trans Resistance MA, The Simple Good (Chicago), and the LDB Peace Institute.

In December 2022, Shea won the inaugural category for Spoken Word Artist of the Year at the Boston Music Awards. Shea was featured in January on GBH News for the “Embrace; Boston” unveiling ceremony. Shea is the curator of GBH’s “Outspoken Saturdays” a platform for poets across New England, where 8 poets perform each month while recording live at the Copley Library, NewsCafe. Her work can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Globe, TEDX, TEDXRoxbury, Netflix, Prime Video, BBC News, and much more. Shea will release her first book, “Pieces of Shea” in the Winter of 2024. Amanda’s work examines her personal life experiences, social justice issues, and healing through trauma utilizing art as the tool.

We’ll also have another haiku slam this Wednesday with a $17 prize! See you then!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

Hey Cantab!

I hope we are all feeling well-rested after daylight savings shot us an hour into the future! This past Wednesday our open mic was filled with high-energy and meaningful work. Kaitie D. packed their poem with fierce imagery and dissonant dissociation. Liz, all the way from New Zealand, gave an astonishing poem on office/corporate culture. We even saw a unique, unironic love poem from our regularly-ironic Cameron V. Finally, there were not one but TWO clown poems, including a persona poem from Myles on Pagliacci the Clown. Speaking of persona poems, we want to give a big thank you to Otto Vock, who hosted an incredibly generative persona poem workshop before the open mic!

The ✏️Line of the Wednesday✏️ this week goes to new regular Ilse Ruizvisfocri, with “I let my luck follow its destiny”

I’m bringing back Weekly Shenanigans! The Weekly Shenanigans this week was when the mic decided to use its power of free speech and stop working (possibly as a revolt against Big Poetry™️?). However, this did not stop Nayeli from literally wrangling the mic cord and making sure her voice was heard.

Our feature, Partridge Boswell, brought Irish folk and his guitar to the stage, serenading us with a series of acoustic songs and a few poems. We always appreciate when someone brings their unique flare to the Cantab, and Partridge’s cadence and passion for the arts was clear and had the audience mesmerized!

This week! We have our SECOND TEAM PRELIMINARY SLAM! Come witness the second half of the Boston Poetry Slam’s 2024 team selection preliminaries! The following poets will compete across 2 rounds:

• SAC: Meredith Lakis
• Amy Argentar
• Aparna Paul
• March Penn
• Mary Schwabenland
• Kat Anderson
• Jennifer Martinez
• Keaton Howl

The top slammers will make it to Team Selection Finals on March 27th. Come support your friends and if you don’t know anyone in the slam, volunteer to judge!

See you then!

– Amy ✈️

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Cantab Recap For Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

Michael: What’s up Cantabbers! It was one of our biggest slams of the year this past Wednesday, and there was a buzz in the air even after the night was over. If you had trouble coming down from the high of the open mic and slam this past Wednesday night, you were not alone!

On the open mic, we had charming litanies from March Penn and Cameron V, meditative work from Skylar Sweet Cheeks, and high (HIGH!) theatrics from Jack Chasse, who has reworked high cadence rhyming into a mutant beast of their own. Shenanigans includes Katie and Danielle reading both of their poems on stage together, despite their protestations that it was NOT a group piece. The highlight of the open was Maya Detwiller’s sweet non-linear ode to their ornithologist boyfriend, which had the audience SWOONING to the point that a number of subsequent open mic-ers prefaced their poems by saying A) I wish I was an ornithologist or B) I wish I was dating an ornithologist. Thank you Maya!

We now go to our local correspondent (and show curator) Myles Taylor, who was taking feverish notes during the slam!

[Insert “Breaking News” music here as the spotlight raises on Myles]

Myles: Hey folks! This is Myles reporting in with notes from Team Preliminaries – Part One! It was clear from the start that our slammers are not messing around this year. Poets Katya Zinn and Eddy Martinez brought us explosive performances of their tried-and-true memorized work, & Kelsey Kessler, Sara H, and Brynna Boyd worked some past slam favorites into the mix. Kaitie D took poems from the open mic and brought them to us refined, edited, and locked into her body. Two poets brought work entirely new to our slams – huge props for such a bold move to Kris Cho and (despite having several polished poems from last year) Logan Lopez! The standings for the poets moving on are as follows:

  1. Brynna Boyd – 56.2
  2. Katya Zinn – 55.3
  3. Kaitie Dilán – 53.5
  4. Logan Lopez – 53.1
  5. Sara Hill – 52.2

Huge rounds of virtual applause for Kris Cho, Eddy Martinez, and Kelsey Kessler, who held their own throughout the night but will not be advancing. Kris Cho, having missed the 5th slot by only two tenths of a point (!) will be one of our sacrifices for Team Selection Finals on March 27th. Big thanks to our judges for making the night happen: Siraj, Ari, Rina, Chelsea, and celebrity judge Queen Sheba.

Tune in for Prelims Part Two on March 13th, where the second half of qualified poets will be competing in another two-round slam of epic proportions. Back to you in the studio, Michael!

[Spotlight fades on Myles and rises on Michael in the BPS newsroom]

Michael: Thanks Myles! This week, in between the slam mayhem, we have a feature from Partridge Boswell! Author of the Grolier Poetry Prize-winning collection Some Far Country, Partridge Boswell is co-founder of Bookstock Literary Festival and teaches at Vallum Society for Education in Arts & Letters in Montreal. He lives with his family in Vermont and troubadours widely with the poetry/music group Los Lorcas, whose debut release Last Night in America is available on Thunder Ridge Records. His Saguaro Poetry Prize-winning chapbook Not Yet a Jedi is also now a thing.

See you there!

– MFG 🚪

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