Cantab Feature for Wednesday, October 18, 2017: Zenaida Peterson

Top national slammer and FEMS curator Zenaida Peterson.

Top national slammer and FEMS curator Zenaida Peterson.

Zenaida is a fire starter, a southern green witch and a queer of color who likes the wind chimes outside her window and giving rocks to people they love. Zenaida has competed in four collegiate and national poetry competitions placing in the top ten each time. Most recently Zenaida was on the House Slam team placing third nationally and is organizing the Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam, the first slam tournament for feminine people. Zenaida believes the softness and floral of people is silenced too often. They also believe everything they hear so you shouldn’t lie to them. Zenaida unwrites the lies they’ve been given. Zenaida also unwrites violence, misogyny, racism and their ancestors’ curses.

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, October 11, 2017

Hope you had a happy National Coming Out Day, poets! We had a gloriously good open mic last night, full of good surprises and solid supportive humans. Our blow-the-top-off-the-room feature was Robbie Dunning of Northampton, who brought a selection of the work that over the years has made their name as a tender thinker, a self-alert humorist, and a compelling crafter of narrative. If you missed your chance to grab their chapbook or one of those extremely important bottlecap magnets everyone is talking about, you can still hit Robbie up on Twitter and get your life right.

Our open slam was a four-poet affair (this has been the lucky number for at least as many weeks) featuring a selection of poets with an intimidating amount of late-night slam experience. The final round came down to 2017 Boston Poetry Slam teammates Mckendy Fils-Aimé vs. Myles Taylor, who pulled no punches in fighting for the #1 spot while teammate Zeke was out of town! Mckendy took home the $10, leaving Myles (and you) just nine more slams to qualify for Team Selection Slams in January.

Can’t get enough slam this week? That must be because you can feel the ripples of the Individual World Poetry Slam in Spokane, Washington, all the way over on this side of the country. To follow scores for our representative to the event, Zeke Russell, plus local NorthBEAST favorites like Sara Mae, Catherine Weiss, and Jelal Huyler, check out the SCORES LINK HERE.

Next week at the Cantab: it’s our final open poetry slam in the 8×8, with a headliner from FEMS organizer Zenaida Peterson! If you still have more to learn about the Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam, come hear the powerful work of the leader of this fem-forward movement.

Tips from the Bar: Don’t Go In the Basement, It’s Kind of Dusty

Write a horror narrative about something that isn’t really horrific, just bothersome or annoying.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, October 11, 2017: Robbie Dunning

Robbie Dunning performs at Easthampton's Pulp Slam. Photo by Christopher Clauss.

Robbie Dunning performs at Easthampton’s Pulp Slam. Photo by Christopher Clauss.

Robbie Dunning is a poet, performer and deluxe jellyfish living in Northampton, Mass. They also spend a lot of time doing graphic design and petting their very needy cat. Originally hailing from rural Virginia, Robbie spent much of their youth singing to the cows in the field next door and writing very telling science fiction stories about men with their shirts off.

Robbie competed in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 National Poetry Slams as well as the 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam, all representing Northampton. You can find their work through SlamFind, Voicemail Poems, and the SlamChop podcast.

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, October 4, 2017

Cantabbers! Buckets and stacks and lumberjack-sized hugs of gratitude are due to all of you who payed our outrageous $5 cover charge last night to enjoy a wonderful and thoughtful open mic, a sweet and toweringly-ready-for-the-big-time spotlight from Sara Mae, and, stretching his many short poems to comfortably fill an hour of work: the unparalleled and much-loved World Qualifier winner and official Cantab rep, Zeke Russell.

Zeke and Sara are both bound for Spokane, Washington next week, home of the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam. You can watch our Facebook page for a live link to scores next Thursday… But you can also keep an eye on these local heroes, who don’t leave for a couple of weeks, and pick up their IWPS-bound chapbooks. Contact Zeke through his page right here, or catch Sara Mae tonight at Slam Free or Die!

Next week: did you think we would rest just because some little slam is going on out in eastern Washington? We shall not! In fact, you’d best prepared your tenderest heart and slyest sense of humor, because our feature next week will be Robbie Dunning. Robbie’s been tearing up the Northampton slam scene and making a big splash on SlamFind this year, so you’ll want to settle in early to watch this rising star. Also, by the way, we are back to our open slam series: this week’s 8×8 will be the seventh in our Champion of Champions run.

Tips from the Bar: The Zeke Russell Prompt

Write about a person who is more family to you than anyone in your family.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, October 4, 2017: World Qualifier Champion Zeke Russell and Sara Mae Spotlight

Zeke Russell performs at a prelim bout at NPS 2016. Photo by Christopher Clauss.

Zeke Russell performs at a prelim bout at NPS 2016. Photo by Christopher Clauss.

Zeke Russell grew up in Central Maine surrounded by artists and lumberjacks. Since then he’s been a cook, a teacher, a security guard and a social worker. In 2008, while living in Lowell, Mass., he rediscovered poetry through the performance zine OutLet. This led him to the Mill City Slam, and thence to the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge. He moved to Boston in 2011, and his work has since appeared in Drunk In a Midnight Choir, Wyvern Lit, Maps For Teeth and Printer’s Devil Review, and on the stages of the 2011, 2016, and 2017 National Poetry Slams. He now frequently serves as host for the open poetry slam at the end of the Boston Poetry Slam show.

This spring, Zeke was the top scorer in the Boston Poetry Team Selection Slams, cementing his spot at the top of the 2017 BPS team. He then went on to take top honors in the two-night, six-poem World Qualifier series to earn himself a chance to represent the Boston Poetry Slam at the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam in Spokane, Washington. Tonight will be a final fundraising push to send Zeke to the tournament in the Pacific Northwest; it’s a $5 cover charge to see his special extended set with no poetry slam tonight.

But wait… That’s not all! We’ll also present a spotlight feature from a fellow IWPS-bound NorthBEAST poet.

Sara Mae, Slam Free or Die's 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam representative. Photo by CJ West.

Sara Mae, Slam Free or Die’s 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam representative. Photo by CJ West.

Sara Mae is a Baltimore-born, Boston-based slam poet. By day she is a coffee-slinger and student, and by night a performer who will stand behind any microphone able to project her profound angst. She is the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam representative for Slam Free or Die of Manchester, N.H., and a head organizer for the Feminine Empowerment Slam Movement (FEMS) organization. She believes in the magic of blue bicycles and orange lipstick. She hopes you think her bangs are not too long.

Sara Mae’s chapbook, I Want to Steal Your Nightlight So It’s Easier to Sleep Alone, will be available for purchase at the show. Proceeds will help the poet travel to Spokane, Wash. for IWPS the next week.

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 an extended set at approximately 10:00. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $5.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Welcome to autumn in New England, poets! You know the drill: it’s wistful and heartbreaking, chill and heated by turns, and full of flaming bright surprises; oh, hang on, that sounds an awful lot like this past week’s excellent feature by Sam Rush. And, dontcha know it, just like autumn, Sam will be gracefully exiting for parts not here much too soon, so if you missed your chance to catch this fleeting touring poet, maybe check out their Facebook page and see Sam one more time before their move from New England really sets in.

This week’s slam was actually sparser than our last few, with only four poets lined up to throw three poems out there in the hope of reeling back that big $10. Hey, slammers, dontcha know there are only ten more slams left to qualify for the 2018 Boston Poetry Slam team? I’m betting that Suzanne O’Toole and Kieran Collier know it, given their high-energy face-off at the show this week; Kieran took the victory and the cash, leaving Suzanne as likely the most dangerous also-ran remaining in our pool of regular slammers.

Next week: not a slam in sight, but TWO local Individual World Poetry Slam reps will hit our stage! That’s right, for a $5 cover, you’ll get an extended one-hour set from Zeke Russell, our representative to Spokane’s world stage this October… And you’ll also get a glimpse of local favorite and Slam Free or Die’s representative to IWPS, Sara Mae! Zeke will hit the stage around 10:00, with Sara Mae spotlighting it up around 9:30ish on the hottest part of our open mic. Come early, stay late, and please do buy some product from our glorious locals taking their poetry to the big show.

Tips from the Bar: The Hieu Minh Nguyen Prompt

Inspired by a Facebook post from the poet Hieu Minh Nguyen:

Think about a strange, surprising, or wonderful thing your body has done on its own. Focus on your surprise, and write without (or through) shame.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, September 27, 2017: Sam Rush

South Florida native and 2016 NPS Finalist Sam Rush.

South Florida native and 2016 NPS Finalist Sam Rush.

Sam Rush is originally from South Florida and began writing poems after developing progressive hearing loss and realizing how many words each word could be. Sam is a three-time competitor in the National Poetry Slam and was a 2016 finalist as a member of The House Slam team. Their work has been featured work featured in The Offing, Public Pool, Drunk in a Midnight Choir and on Button Poetry and SlamFind.

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.

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