Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hot January greatness, Cantab! The gusts of our enthusiastic industrial heater were no match for the hair-blown-back level of sweetness and grace from last night’s feature, Nancy Huang. This welcoming, thoughtful, and dexterous writer shook us into and out of our bodies on a journey through her first collection, Favorite Daughter. Nancy’s in New York for her next round of gigs tonight, but you can still get her book straight from the publisher at the link!

The Last Chance Slam, as expected, was an extremely exciting roster of six. Eventual finalists Mugs and Lindsey Michelle defeated past slam team competitors and finalists, plus two where-did-that-come-from rookies, to reach the last head-to-head round! When the dust cleared around these two of-late regulars, it was Lindsey Michelle standing victorious. Lindsey is now ten bucks richer and gets to advance to the January 31 team selection heat

Wait, does that mean that THIS COMING WEDNESDAY is the first night of team selection slams? Omigosh, you betcha, /other Midwestern-style epithets here/! Join us on January 24 as eleven slammers fight for the first six spots in semi-finals: Allison Truj, Brandon Melendez, Cassandra de Alba, George Abraham, Evan Cutts, Jackie Perry, Kieran Collier, Kye Jasper, Lip McDonald, Meaghan Ford and Suzanne O’Toole will go two rounds in a grand melee to kick off our 2018 selection process. Remember that it’ll cost you $5 to get in that night to help fundraise for the eventual team, and boyo would we love it if you brought a new listener along to judge!

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 17, 2018: Nancy Huang

Nancy Huang, Write Bloody Chapbook Contest winner and VONA alum. Photo by the author.

Nancy Huang, Write Bloody Chapbook Contest winner and VONA alum. Photo by the author.

Nancy grew up in America and China. She is a winner of the 2016 Write Bloody Poetry Chapbook contest, an Andrew Julius Gutow Academy of American Poets Prize, a Regents Arts & Humanities Award finalist, a James F. Parker Award in Poetry, a 2015 YoungArts Finalist prize, and more. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Bodega Magazine, TRACK//FOUR, Winter Tangerine Review, The Shade Journal, and others. She was a member of UT Spitshine, and competed/resisted at CUPSI 2017 in Chicago, where all her poems were nominated for Best of the Rest. She is an alum of VONA and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop summer graduate session. Her debut poetry collection, Favorite Daughter, is available on Write Bloody Publishing. Visit her at nancyjhuang.com.

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. The Last Chance poetry slam will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What a 2018 we are having so far, Cantabbers! Folks who made it out to the venue last night (hoo boy, there were lots of you) were treated to a rare feature from Northampton’s Jelal Huyler, a brilliantly engaging artist with an enviably deft hand at comedy, irony, hip-hop, and free metaphor, all wrapped in a welcoming call-and-response theme. Congratulations to the lucky folks who caught this memorable mid-winter headliner.

Of course, one catch-a-shooting-star event in a night isn’t enough for the Cantab, right? Last evening’s show was capped by the year’s opening Champion of Champions Slam, wherein four poets dared to step to RebeccaLynn, longtime bartender and nearly as longtime reigning champ. The season championship head-to-head featured a heads-up match between 2017 teammates Brandon Melendez and Myles Taylor, once in which the Emerson coach finally surpassed the Emerson slammer! (Enjoy that while you can, B…) Brandon earned the opportunity to advance to the Championship round, and after some dramatic dithering, Brandon did indeed challenge friend and tequila shot buddy RebeccaLynn for the title. Was it worth it? You tell us: by a score of 3-2 and with good sports all around, Brandon Melendez is our newly minted Champion of Champions. Congratulations to Brandon, and a warm round of applause to our departing champ and continuing bartender RebeccaLynn.

Next week: yes, we can follow that show! January 17 will welcome Write Bloody chapbook contest winner Nancy Huang to the stage, and the open poetry slam will be the absolute Last Chance event to qualify one more poet for the 2018 Team Selection Slams.

Tips from the Bar: Rejected!

Write a rejection letter for a condition or event that you politely decline to acknowledge as acceptable in your life.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, January 10, 2018: Jelal Huyler and the Champion of Champions Slam with RebeccaLynn

Jelal Huyler, writer and talker. Photo courtesy Huyler family archive.

Jelal Huyler, writer and talker. Photo courtesy Huyler family archive.

Jelal Huyler is an Oakland-born, Massachusetts-residing poet/emcee who does not believe in linear time. He spends most of this not-believed-in concept scribbling into notebooks, and writing things and talking extensively on various subjects. He has slammed nationally for Stockton, California and Northampton, Massachusetts, and he coached the 2017 Northampton National Poetry Slam Team. He is mostly concerned with burritos… which do not exist in Massachusetts. This bio has now made Jelal sad.

Jelal’s voice and work have been featured in several documentaries, including Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality, which explores race and restorative justice in the United States. Previous and forthcoming publications include Eleven Eleven, 3Elements Review, 580 Split, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and SlamChop. His book Fractals is available on The Gorilla Press. Jelal also makes good blue soul music. Ask him about stuff.

Tonight also marks the final night in our current 8×8 poetry slam series! Following Jelal’s feature, eight slam winners will slam off for the season championship and the opportunity to challenge RebeccaLynn, the current reigning Champion of Champions, in a head-to-head event including a New Poem Round.

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. The Champion of Champions poetry slam will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy new calendar year, Cantabbers! Thanks so much to each and every one of you who came out to celebrate the first Wednesday of 2017 with local 2017 National Poetry Slam finalist Angelica Maria. Angelica performed beautifully, bantered sweetly, and shook our emotions fiercely and unrelentingly; what a way to dust out our hearts for the year to come.

The slam was a super-fun time, with a mix of seven newcomers and veterans looking for a chance to get heard, qualify for the team, and/or walk out ten dollars richer! John Pinkham and Neiel Israel faced off in the final, with neither poet holding anything back: at the end of the night, Neiel stood supreme among the smoking ruins of the judges’ whiteboards. Both finalists are now qualified for the Team Selection Slams on January 24 and January 31.

Next week: 2018 is not fooling around, folks! Temps will return to double digits and we’ll have a doubly exciting show for you: a feature from Jelal Huyler and a chance to see RebeccaLynn defend her title in the Champion of Champions Slam. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: Absent Adam Part One

Bartender Adam Stone may be on vacation, but he’s still working on prompts so you can work on poems:

Use a scientific fact that can be broadly explained in one sentences as the basis for a three minute folktale.

Cantab Feature for January 3, 2018: Angelica Maria

Angelica Maria, 2017 National Poetry Slam Finalist. Photo courtesy marlono.com.

Angelica Maria, 2017 National Poetry Slam Finalist. Photo courtesy marlono.com.

Angelica Maria is a poet and designer from Los Angeles, California. She was a finalist at the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado, with Boston’s House Slam team. Angelica currently has a chapbook, Dolorosa, available on pizza pi press, on the nuances of female identity and second generation latinx feelings. She will be reciting a Ted Talk on the topic of self-love for Tedx Vail in February of 2018. Catch her on Instagram (angelicamalamaria) or Twitter (@malamamamaria).

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, December 27, 2017

Happy Old Year, Cantabbers! How pleasing to have enjoyed our last Wednesday of 2017 with seven-year-irregular Emily Duggan on the stage. Emily brought her poetry, theater, and ghostly skills to the show, taking us on a grand journey through the personal and the historical, all wrapped up in a delightful bundle of banter. We hope to see Emily again, no matter how irregularly, when she returns from her MFA program in Chicago.

The slam was a feisty foursome of– dare we say it– late-season rookies to the Cantab, all bringing fresh work and game skilled enough to distress the onlookers already qualified for team slams. The final round came down to Vicky Munyoz vs. José, whose work had dialogued beautifully with one another from jump. Of course, there’s only one ten-dollar bill for the winner, so someone had to take the fall… Vicky was graceful in an overtime defeat, as was our latest winner in a first slam triumph: congratulations to José, the antepenultimate qualifier for the 2018 Team Selection Slams.

Next week: let’s ring in 2018 for real, folks! Our feature will be Angelica Maria, 2017 National Poetry Slam Finalist and bombdiggity local from across the river. If you are sharpening your slam fangs (hey now), keep in mind that the slam that night will be the last in the current 8×8 series.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, December 27, 2017: Emily Duggan

The Boston Poetry Slam is pleased to present a reschedule of our promised feature for August 16, 2017.

Poet and Ghost Host (really) Emily Duggan. Photo by Jason Kasman.

Poet and Ghost Host (really) Emily Duggan. Photo by Jason Kasman.


Emily Duggan has studied writing, performance poetry, straight and applied theatre, and improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy at Brandeis University, Emerson College, GrubStreet, The Second City— Chicago, and more. In the past three years, she has worked as a/an: traveling-children’s-theatre intern, K-12 tutor, improvisational illustrator, escape-room facilitator, puppet-theatre administrator, historic educator, psychologist’s assistant, documentary-theatre actor, dramaturg, and ghost (seriously) (dead seriously) (sorry not sorry) (actually sorry). In the summer of 2016, she may have been the first woman to print Paul Revere’s [in]famous engraving of the Boston Massacre in over 200 years — and on the same device he’d’ve used. After all that excitement and too much more, Emily fled Boston in August 2017, and she is currently a candidate for an MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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.