Cantab Feature for August 5, 2015: Boston Poetry Slam Team

The 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Sean is making the same face he made last year. Photo by Marshall Goff.

The 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Sean is making the same face he made last year. Photo by Marshall Goff.

This night will mark the Cantab’s last show before the 2015 National Poetry Slam, when we send off the 2015 Boston Poetry Slam team to compete for a week in Oakland, California! Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Marshall Gillson, Bobby Crawford, Sophia Holtz, and Sean Patrick Mulroy will present an extended feature full of all the hits, future favorites, un-slammable group pieces, and rare-for-a-reason B-sides before hopping a plane to the other side of the country.

To learn more about the 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team, click here. We’ll also keep you updated here with the team’s upcoming bout schedule at the National Poetry Slam, and links to help you follow along: the bout draw was announced in early July and you can see the team’s Wednesday and Thursday NPS bout schedule here.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. A slightly shortened open mic begins at 8:00 and the extended feature begins at approximately 10:00. (No open poetry slam tonight.) The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This past Wednesday was one awesome night at the Cantab– and we aren’t just saying that because the air conditioner was back in commission. NYC poet Aziza Barnes absolutely rocked the house with an all on-page, all super-smart, all all-powerful set of beautifully crafted work touching on the familial, the sacred, and the mundane. Although many of her pieces were relatively new to the world and not yet available in a chapbook, you can get me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun (2013, Button Poetry) online any time.

The slam that followed the feature was, to quote one of the participants, “a bloodbath” –although this is surely a figurative assessment, you can only imagine how raucous an event must have come to the stage to finish up with a final pairing of two 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team members: Bobby Crawford vs. Mckendy Fils-Aimé! In a tight finish, Mckendy took the $10 home and becomes the second current BPS team member to qualify for next year’s slam team.

Next week: we’re back with more air conditioning and so, so, so many poets! Our feature next Wednesday will be the 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team in their last appearance before departing for the 2015 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California! Start rolling your pennies this weekend, folks, because it’ll be a special $5 show to see 5 incredible poets in an hour-long set. Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Marshall Gillson, Bobby Crawford, Sophia Holtz, and Sean Patrick Mulroy will also have their team chapbook, Nothing Left Unholy, available for purchase and autographs.

Tips from the Bar: Cover-Up

Write about an undercover job that is not meant to be undercover, i.e.: Undercover Accountant, Undercover Entomologist, etc.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 29, 2015: Aziza Barnes

Breakbeat poet Aziza Barnes from Bedstuy.

Breakbeat poet Aziza Barnes from Bedstuy.

Aziza Barnes is blk & alive. Born in Los Angeles, she currently lives in Bedstuy, New York. You can find her work currently or forthcoming in PANK, pluck!, Muzzle, Callaloo, Union Station, Phantom Limb, The Rumpus and The Breakbeat Poets, among other journals and collections. Her first chapbook, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, was the first winner of the Exploding Pinecone Prize and is published and available for purchase from Button Poetry. She is a poetry and non-fiction editor at Kinfolks Quarterly, a Callaloo fellow, a graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a current candidate for her MFA in Poetry at University of Mississippi. She is a member of The Dance Cartel and the divine fabrics collective.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Okay, so we can agree that poets don’t need tragic things to happen to create great work… But, in the case of Ariel Baker-Gibbs’ farewell feature last night, both the open mic and the feature herself rose to the occasion with sweetness, sadness, and the snark we’ve come to love and expect from Ariel’s presence. This very smart soon-to-be-no-longer-local only has two Wednesdays left in town, so if you missed picking up So Far, her chapbook, catch her before she flies west in early August, possibly to a venue that has working air conditioning.

After Ariel’s feature, eight slammers took the stage in the hopes of riding the bittersweetly humid wave to the ten-dollar prize… Josh Elbaum and Zeke Russell both started strong from opposite sides of the 8×8 bracket, but when the smoke cleared, Josh was left standing victorious! Josh is the sixth winner of eight who earns an invite to the Champion of Champions Slam, scheduled for August 19.

Next week: MOAR POEMS!!!1!!111!!! The excellent Aziza Barnes is scheduled to visit us from NYC, and we’ll have the seventh poetry open slam in the 8×8. Come early! Stay late! Bring a fan!

Writing Prompts Galore

Tips from the Bar

Tips from the Bar: a weekly prompt series by bartender Adam Stone.

Looking for more summer writing prompts? Don’t worry, Adam Stone has had you covered since about 2008, when he began providing a weekly writing prompt at the Wednesday Cantab show. We’ve archived his prompts back to about 2011 or so: Tips from the Bar Archive. Thanks, Adam!

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 22, 2015: Ariel Baker-Gibbs

Canadian Cantab poet Ariel Baker-Gibbs. Photo by Amy Wilson.

Canadian Cantab poet Ariel Baker-Gibbs. Photo by Amy Wilson.

Ariel Baker-Gibbs’s childhood was split between Toronto, ON, and Hornby Island, B.C., and she grew up competing for space with the largest collection of children’s books anyone has ever seen. She has been a resident of Somerville, Mass., for the past four years, reading grody French post-structuralist philosophy and all the technology and new media theory for the MIT Press. She is off to rejoin her beloved intertidal creatures on the West Coast and to start a PhD in English at UC Berkeley where she plans to read, write, and sign various kinds of words about the role of fantasy in popular culture. You can google her and find many strange things.

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the feature performs at approximately 10:00. An open poetry slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sure, sure, it’s blisteringly hot, swelteringly humid, and super-obviously only just past the midway point of the calendar… Still, it seems constantly surprising that July even exists and is happening to us right here. This past Wednesday, five teams prepping for the National Poetry Slam in August (so! soon!) got down on our dirty basement floor in the hopes of tuning up properly for the big show. At the end of four remarkable rounds, the standings were as follows:

1. The House Slam: 112.6
2. Slam Free or Die: 107.8
3. Seven Hills: 104.1
4. Northampton: 102.7
5. Boston Poetry Slam: 100.4

Congratulations to the House Slam, taking a win in their first-ever season, and best of luck to all the traveling teams! Extra thanks go to Meaghan Ford and Josh Elbaum, our intrepid sacrifices, as well as the five judges selected by ultra-competent bout manager Tom Slavin: Fiona, Julie, Colleen, Joanne & John, and Daysha!

Did you miss it? Well, boy-o, are you in luck this week: Christopher Clauss not only slammed for SFoD in the third round, but he got pictures of just about everyone else in the show. Here are a few selects for you to enjoy while you wait for next Wednesday’s feature: that’ll be a bittersweet farewell to not-with-us-long-enough local Ariel Baker-Gibbs.

Tips from the Bar: As Long As We’re Being Hypothetical

What piece of technology would have saved your failed relationship? I.e: a teleporter, a calculator, a time machine, a crowbar…

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, July 15, 2015: NorthBEAST Regional 5×4

The National Poetry Slam heads to Oakland, California, this August, and we want our New England teams to be ready to rumble! That means we’re making our own NPS-preview action right here on the east coast! Tonight, we’ll be featuring FIVE teams from New England in a semi-final format: that means five teams will go for four rounds, one of the riskiest, most whiplash-inducing slams the competition has to offer. If you’re wondering what slam looks like at its highest level, strap in and hold onto your whiskey, because this is it.

This second of two summertime 5x4s will pit the following Nationals-bound teams against one another:

This show will have a slightly shortened open mic and will sell out in exactly two hot seconds, people, so we advise arriving for door time at 7:15 if you want to get in to catch the show. Cover charge is $5 to help raise funds for our team to travel to Nationals in Oakland this August!

This show in our weekly Wednesday series takes place at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors for the show open at 7:15. The open mic begins at 8:00 and the slam begins at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5.

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