Cantab Recap for Wednesday, February 15, 2017

You must know, Cantabbers, what a sweet sight it is to see the room packed from wall to wall for a poetry show… Especially if you arrived early enough to secure yourself a seat and a coveted open mic spot, of course. This Wednesday, we welcomed the incomparable Safia Elhillo to our loving and grungy little stage, and she brought the house down with the beautiful long-drawn-out-breath-of-work she’s become notable for. Oh, and did you not learn enough about how country makes and is made by lines and accent, or how love makes and is made by a body, or how Abdelhalim Hafez lived and sang and died? No problem: Safia’s upcoming book, The January Children, is available right the heck now from the University of Nebraska Press.

Our third speed slam in the 8×8 series was a wicked affair, with an odd number of poets getting into the mix for two rounds of three- and two-minute poems. At the end of each, Kieran Collier and Em Taylor rose to the top of the scores, facing off in the one-minute round: Kieran took the big win and the ten bucks, cementing his spot in the upcoming World Qualifier Speed Slam this May.

Next week: we keep rolling with our incredible 2017 schedule, welcoming Minneapolis heartbreaker/powerhouse Hieu Minh Nguyen back to our mic. Trust us, it’s gonna be good: get here early for your cozy seat, and hang out until half-past-eleven to catch the fourth speed slam in the series.

Tips from the Bar: A Two-Part Prompt, Depending on Your Life Experience

Write about an awkward time when you ran into a celebrity.

AND/OR:

Write about an awkward time when you thought you ran into somebody you thought was a celebrity.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, February 15, 2017: Safia Elhillo

Sudanese-American award-winning poet Safia Elhillo.

Sudanese-American award-winning poet Safia Elhillo.

Safia Elhillo’s first full-length collection, The January Children, is forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press in 2017. Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she received a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an MFA in poetry at the New School. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, co-winner of the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize, and winner of the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation, and Crescendo Literary and The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Incubator.

In addition to appearing in several journals and anthologies including “The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop,” her work has been translated into Arabic and Greek. With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology “Halal If You Hear Me.” Safia is an alum and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Team, and a founding member of New York University’s Slam NYU, and has shared her work on platforms including TEDxNewYork, BBC World Service, and the South African State Theater.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam will be a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2017 World Qualifier.

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, February 8, 2017

Cantabbers, was it only just this past Wednesday night when we frolicked freely on the sidewalks, unfettered by winter whiteness or a million overripe snowflake metaphors? Yea, it was: the gold old days, a surprisingly! non-problematic! Erotic Poetry Night! (thank you, brilliant open mic poets!) when Chloé Cunha tickled your fancy with the exact magic number of sex haiku, and– get this– for the first time in Cantab history, LOVE defeated DEATH in the head-to-head theme slam! Congratulations to John “Captain Love” Pinkham who led his team to victory, and brace yourselves for the shaken fist of Cassandra “Captain Death” de Alba, who will rise to battle again, just you wait.

Next week: please remind your friends that it is NOT exclusive sexytimes open mic on February 15. Instead, we will enjoy a feature from the season’s most-requested poet: Safia Elhillo will be in the house, and you can bet every seat will be taken, so get your butt in one early! Late arrivers will still get to enjoy the eleven o’clock poetry slam, the third in our speed slam series with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds.

Tips from the Bar: That’s No Horse

Compare a major life event to a specific historic event. (No Trojan Horse metaphors, please.)

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, February 8, 2017: Erotic Poetry Night Featuring Chloé Cunha and Love vs. Death

Flashback to EPN 2012: host Jamei Bauer has her erotic poetry listening face on. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Flashback to EPN 2012: host Jamei Bauer has her erotic poetry listening face on. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Is it hot in here, or is it just you? As tradition decrees, we make that joke every year for Erotic Poetry Night, and it never gets (c)old. This year, we present our wildly popular annual Erotic Poetry Night on the Wednesday before Valentine’s Day, as the sort of foreplay our emotionally bereft staff prefers to the seasonally-inappropriate flood of one-off love poems. We’ll present the best (and worst) of the erotic (and neurotic) all night long; open mic readers are strongly encouraged to bring original erotic poems, poems about sex, or poems about generalized naughtiness.

We are pleased to announce that our open will feature the intermittent haiku stylings of Chloé Cunha! Chloé’s series of clit-themed haiku has been warming the venue all this winter, and will act as a palate cleanser (or, uh, whatever) betwixt the erotic madnesses of the open mic.

AND, MORE FUN: the night’s headliner event will be an invite-only theme slam on the subject of Love vs. Death! Originally conceived by host Kevin Spak for Erotic Poetry Night in 2013, the slam will feature two teams representing the two classic Valentine’s Day themes, each slamming for immortal superiority. Our all-star roster is now official, so gird your loins (or, uh, whatever) and mark your little black books for this date.

TEAM LOVE VS. TEAM DEATH
John Pinkham vs. Dawn Gabriel
Zeke Russell vs. Ron Prudent
Nora Meiners vs. Brandon Melendez
jeff taylor vs. Scott P-S
Sara Mae vs. Jackie Perry
April Penn vs. Cassandra de Alba

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 erotic-themed open mic begins at 8:00 and the featured event will commence after the 10:00 break. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy Black History Month, Cantabbers! This Wednesday, we were super-proud to bring Sasha Banks back to our stage, a fantastic thinker and writer in the home stretch of her MFA candidacy (and NYC residency!). Sasha brought us a half-hour of newly crafted work, speaking cleanly and beautifully to so many of the issues on our mind this February 1. After Sasha’s feature, a four-poet speed slam ensued, the second in our series and already a highly competitive event. The final one-minute round came down to dynamic new work to the stage from both Alex McDonald and Sara Mae: Alex took the top score and his first win at the Boston Poetry Slam. Six more speed slams are left in the series, culminating in the April Champion of Champions match, speed style: you’ll want to polish up your 3-, 2-, and 1-minute poems for a chance at the title.

Next week: we’ll have a sweet little break from the EXTREMELY JOCK-IMPORTANT speed slams we’ve been having and instead slide on into our annual Erotic Poetry Night. This year’s night of Not Love Poems will feature our annual erotica-themed open mic, including haiku highlist from Chloé Cunha. Our featured event will be an all-star head-to-head slam on the themes of Love vs. Death; check the link to find out who is competing in this low-stakes, winner-take-nothing prelude to Singles Awareness Day. Can’t wait to see you there!

Tips from the Bar: No, It’s Not Supposed to Be an Erotic Poetry Night Prompt

Think of an activity you enjoy.

Write about the first, most recent, and (imagined) last time you experience this activity.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, February 1, 2017: Sasha Banks

Poets for Ferguson founder Sasha Banks. Photo by Brian Redondo.

Poets for Ferguson founder Sasha Banks. Photo by Brian Redondo.

Sasha Banks is a poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO, Kinfolks Quarterly, Alight, Poor Claudia, Austin IPF, B O D Y Literature, The Collagist, and has been performed in Tulane University’s Vagina Monologues. Sasha is the creator of Poets for Ferguson and a MFA candidate at the Pratt Institute. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she is learning to be Black and spectacular at the same damn time.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam will be a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2017 World Qualifier.

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, January 25, 2017

Last night, once again, poets and listeners warmed the corners of our hearts as well as the darkest, dingiest corners of the underground bar we call home every Wednesday. Thank you so much to the folks who continue to support and engage with our reading, both by speaking out and by providing an open-hearted audience for poets on every topic. We hope these past Wednesday nights have rejuvenated and strengthened you for the other six days of your week.

Our feature this week was Nicole Terez Dutton, Somerville Poet Laureate and winner of the 2011 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Nicole read a smattering of old work and an exciting selection of hot-off-the-press, taking us on her signature slow-build journeys from poem to poem. Joining Nicole for two poems was our original Venerable Doorman, Ron Goba, who made a triumphant return to the stage after a few years away. If you missed it, you can still get a taste: Nicole’s book If One of Us Should Fall is available from the excellent University of Pittsburgh Press. Our very first speed slam of the season closed the night: after a solid battle amongst the eight sign-ups, Brandon Melendez rose to defeat Evan Cutts in the final, one-minute round.

Next week: Wednesday marks the first day of Black History Month, which we know you need more than ever. Our celebrated feature will be Sasha Banks, founder of Poets for Ferguson and MFA candidate at the Pratt Institute. As usual, we’ll start the night with our marathon open mic (Get here before 7:30 if you want a spot! It’s been packed!) and a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds will follow.

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