Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 24, 2017: World Qualifier Final

The Boston Poetry Slam will kick off our Summer of Slam just a little bit early with the second and final night of the annual World Qualifier to select the Boston Poetry Slam’s sole representative to the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam! This year’s IWPS will take place in Spokane, Wash. from October 11-14, and our World Qualifier slam winner will be entered into the event.

Tonight’s winner-take-all competition features the top eight finishers from the May 3 World Qualifier Speed Slam. The first round tonight will feature the following poets:
1. Zeke Russell
2. Alex McDonald
3. RebeccaLynn
4. Meaghan Ford
5. Em Taylor
6. Allison Truj
7. Sara Mae
8. Brandon Melendez
Sacrifices: Ron Prudent, Austin Hendricks

The four-round night, including one limit-breaking 4-minute round, will culminate in a head-to-head finals to determine who will represent the BPS in the Pacific Northwest this fall. For more details, you can also check out the full rules and format for the World Qualifier Series.

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. An slightly shortened 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; proceeds will go toward funding the World Qualifier winner’s trip to IWPS this October.

Annual Attleboro Arts Museum Poetry Slam: Friday, May 19, 2017

The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Neiel Israel, Em Taylor, Zeke Russell, Brandon Melendez, Mckendy Fils-Aimé. Photo by Marshall Goff.

The 2017 Boston Poetry Slam Team is: Neiel Israel, Em Taylor, Zeke Russell, Brandon Melendez, Mckendy Fils-Aimé. Photo by Marshall Goff.

Friday, May 19, 2017
86 Park St., Attleboro, MA
6:30 sign-ups, 7:00 open mic, 7:45ish poetry slam
FREE show for all ages

more details at the Attleboro Arts Museum website

The Boston Poetry Slam has presented a free poetry slam in conjunction with the Attleboro Arts Museum annually since 2007! This year’s special event will feature the Boston Poetry Slam Team, the House Slam, the Seven Hills Slam from Worcester, and an open mic featuring YOU, hosted by BPS SlamMaster Simone Beaubien. As always, the show is held in the main room of the Museum at 86 Park St. in Attleboro, and the event is free of charge. For the second year in a row, this event is generously made possible by funding from the Attleboro accounting firm Castro, Thresher and Oliviera, P.C.!

This year’s event will reprise the high-energy show format from 2015 and 2016: an open mic for members of the Attleboro community and beyond will kick off the night. After the open mic, teams from the Boston Poetry Slam, the House Slam, and the Seven Hills Slam will go head-to-head-to-head in a performance poetry exhibition! These three freshly selected teams will be shaking out their metaphors in preparation for their trip to the National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado this August.

The Attleboro Arts Museum is located at 86 Park St. in Attleboro, Mass., just a short walk from the Attleboro stop on the Providence/Boston line of the Commuter Rail. Signups for the open mic begin at 6:30pm, with the open mic starting at 7:00. A poetry slam featuring teams from Boston, Providence, and Worcester will begin at the end of the open mic, around 7:45. The show is all ages and admission is free.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Is summer here already, folks? Last night’s show had all the signs: a sweltering night outdoors, a packed house inside, and breath-of-fresh-air Jess Rizkallah in the house, returned from her MFA program at NYU. Jess brought us a glorious selection of nearly all new works, packing tons of poems into her feature with her signature presence and grace that we’ve missed so much. Hope to see you in the house again soon, Jess!

The slam that followed Jess’ feature was a rocking four-poet affair, with Portland poet Nicholas Mitchell vying against local Colin Killick for the ten-dollar prize. Colin came out on top, netting a spot in the August Champion of Champions match, and leaving Nicholas standing to slam another day.

Next week: HOO BOYO, LISTENERS! It’s the World Qualifier Final, the last slam in our selection process to decide who will rep the venue at the Individual World Poetry Slam this October in Spokane, Washington! Click here to see the awesome eightsome who will take the stage in the first round. Remember, it’s a $5 cover to raise money to send the winner afar, and an abbreviated open mic, so come early, pack some cash for the bar, and get ready to cheer the heck out of your favorite slammers.

PLUS, special springtime bonus show! This Friday will mark our eleventh year at the Attleboro Arts Museum slam, and this time we’ll be welcoming teams from the House Slam and 7 Hills in Worcester to a three-team slam-off in the one-room house of art! There’s easy access from the Providence line of the commuter rail, plus an open mic, and it’s all free; come on down south for a sweet early-evening show in a truly beautiful space. Click here for more details.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 17, 2017: Jess Rizkallah

Jess Rizkallah, Lebanese-American poet and Maps For Teeth founder.

Jess Rizkallah, Lebanese-American poet and Maps For Teeth founder.

Jess Rizkallah is a Lebanese-American writer, illustrator, and coffee slinger living between Boston & New York. Alumna of Lesley University, MFA candidate at NYU & founding editor at Maps For Teeth magazine / pizza pi press, she’s a former Champion of Champion of the Cantab Lounge and a Pushcart Prize nominated poet whose work has appeared in Word Riot, Nailed Magazine, Button Poetry, HEArt Online, & on her mother’s fridge. Her first collection, the magic my body becomes, is forthcoming on University of Arkansas Press, 2017. Find her at jessrizkallah.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. 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, May 10, 2017

What is this dreary May grayness that’s dogging 2017, Cantabbers? Thank poetry for our gritty little basement, where poets are still bursting into blossom weekly on the stage. This past Wednesday saw New York curator, MFA candidate, and all-around five-petaled thinker Cecily Schuler bring their fresh thoughts to the stage, followed by the first slam to qualify poets for the 2018 team tryouts! If you want to look to the future, cast your eyes no further than slam winner Suzanne O’Toole, who dispatched James Merenda in the final round.

Next week: you know the promise of summer is real when our own school-year travelers are back. Come rain, snow, or blazing heat wave, we’ll welcome Jess Rizkallah home from the New School, and continue our open slam series with the second in the 8×8.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 10, 2017: Cecily Schuler

Miami-raised, Brooklyn-based, genderqueer writer and performer Cecily Schuler. Photo by Philip Whaling.

Miami-raised, Brooklyn-based, genderqueer writer and performer Cecily Shuler. Photo by Philip Whaling.

Cecily Schuler is a Miami-raised Brooklyn-based genderqueer writer and performer. Their work is featured in the Offing, great weather for MEDIA, Duende and elsewhere. While receiving an MFA in Writing and Social Activism at the Pratt Institute, and attending residencies at Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Home School: Miami and the Vermont Studio Center, they’ve been working on a full-length experimental poetic memoir of sorts. They are an assistant editor at Drunken Boat, and run Union Square Slam, a weekly poetry open mic and slam in the heart of New York City every Tuesday. Cecily’s chapbook, 296, is available from Next Left Press.

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, May 3, 2017

Slammers and listeners! Another speed slam season is in the books, and it’s been actually, totally rad. Last night was the culmination of our winter of fast-talking short-poem slams, the battle royale from which only eight poets may emerge! Twelve of our eighteen qualified poets showed out with their two- and one-minute poems for the crowd, and when the whirlwind had passed, the standings were as follows:

1. Brandon Melendez 53.4
2. Sara Mae 52.8
3. Allison Truj 52.7
4. Em Taylor 51.9
5[tie]. Meaghan Ford 51.4
5[tie]. RebeccaLynn 51.4
7. Kieran Collier 51.2
8. Austin Hendricks 50.6

9. Alex McDonald
10. Ron Prudent
11. Zeke Russell
12. John Pinkham
Poets in bold will be invited to advance to the four-round Final on May 24.

Extra thanks to judges Amari & Zoe, Jeffrey, Nick, Sarra & Shivam, Mark, and Rachel for listening up to the twenty-six rapid-fire poems of the night, and to our excellent sacrifices, Kai Bobbi and Adam Stone.

Next week: we’re back to our regularly scheduled open mic and feature. This week’s headliner will be Cecily Schuler, Union Square Slam co-curator and Pratt Institute MFA candidate. Our open poetry slam will be a standard all-three-minute affair, and will be the first chance to qualify to try out for the 2018 Boston Poetry Slam Team. Yowza!

Tip from the Bar: If You Were King of the Forest

For his birthday, a lion at a British zoo was presented with soap bubbles. He found them terrifying.

What totally harmless, mundane thing petrifies you? Why? Will you ever get over it?

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, May 3, 2017: World Qualifier Speed Slam

Our annual run of speed slams winds down along with National Poetry Month, folks, which means it’s time to ramp up for even speedier action: get ready for the World Qualifier series, a two-night, six-poem series to select the Boston Poetry Slam’s sole representative to the Individual World Poetry Slam! This year’s IWPS will take place in Spokane, Wash. in October, and our World Qualifier slam winner will be entered into the 2017 event.

Night one of the World Qualifier will be our annual grand speed slam: a huge field of poets compete in a lightning-fast two-round slam using ONLY 2- and 1-minute poems. That means lots of new work performed by your favorite slam winners from the past year! Top scorers move on to the Final on May 24.

Up to twenty-six poets will qualify to slam in this first round of prelims! For a roster of those qualified (and to see what dates are left to jump in), click here.

You can also click here for the full rules and format for the World Qualifier Series.

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. An slightly shortened 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; proceeds will go toward funding the World Qualifier winner’s trip to IWPS in Spokane this October.

Cantab recap for Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Poets! Listeners! Wednesday night bar patrons! Thanks so much for bringing this year’s National Poetry Month to a close with us this week at the Cantab. Our feature this Wednesday was Jonathan Mendoza, 2015 National Poetry Slam champion and Pizza Pi Press author. Jonathan brought us a solid selection of brand-new ideas and work just-published in his latest book, and we were honored to witness its first night in the world: When the Crows Come is available straight from the press for $15, or see Jonathan in person for the no-shipping price, maybe even including his wonderful story about the cover.

The slam to close the night was the very last of the year’s speed slam series, and the Last Chance Slam to get on the roster for next week’s World Qualifier. A mighty roster of two poets took the stage in a head-to-head 3-2-1 battle: at the end of the show, Alyssa got a well-deserved round of applause, but Spencer Burchill took home the $10 and the qualifying spot.

But what’s next week’s World Qualifier, you ask? Oh, no big deal: just the weirdest, wildest, fastest slam royale you’ll ever see. Over two dozen poets are qualified for two rounds of poetry next week, but the catch is that they only get spots for a 2-minute and a 1-minute poem. Everyone invited is a previous slam winner, so it’s a great chance to catch your favorite slam winners breaking out of the three-minute box to perform something new to you! The top eight poets advance to the May 24 Final, and heads up: this big ol’ show will be a special $5 cover night, which will help us raise the funds to send our World Qualifier winner to the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam in Spokane, Washington.

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