Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Congratulations, New Englanders! We made it all the way through the end of a bitterly bitter March, ending with the glorious lion that is Rachel Wiley as our last feature of the month. Activist, poetic thinker, and powerful performer, Rachel rang in spring in with us with the utmost charisma, thoughtfulness, and well-crafted work. You can catch her again tonight at Blast Fest (at the White Haus) for more hyper-smartness and a chance to pick up Fat Girl Finishing School, one of the most fun titles ever to say three times fast.

Once Rachel closed out her feature, we welcomed a sparser-than-average yet still intense four-person poetry slam to the mic. The final one-minute round came down to Josh Elbaum and the well-traveled Sam Mercer; Sam came all the way down from the frozen north to slam with us, and took home the $10 prize. Congrats, Sam!

Next week: HOLY POEMFACES PEOPLE, IT’S FINALS!! The top NINE poets of the whoooooole season will go three rounds ON FIGURATIVE FIRE to see who will make up the 2015 Boston Poetry Slam Team! It’s the Team Selection Slam Finals, it costs $5, and we need YOU (that’s right, capitals) to come support and judge. Mark your calendars for the first night of National Poetry Month; we’d love to see you there!

Tips from the Bar: Brevity is the Soul

Write a complete poem
in two lines.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, March 25, 2015: Rachel Wiley

Rachel Wiley, Columbus performance poet.

Rachel Wiley, Columbus performance poet.

Rachel Wiley is a native of Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from Capital University in 2006 with a degree in Theatre Studies.

Rachel is on staff at the Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam in Columbus. She was a finalist at both the National Poetry Slam and the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2011, and she has toured nationally performing at slam venues, colleges and festivals. Most recently she had the honor of being part of the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey. Her first full-length collection of poetry was released by Timber Mouse Publishing in October 2014.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam is a speed slam 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2015 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 speed slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Okay, so maybe the college students you know were beach-bound (or better) for spring break last week, but: all the college students WE know were doing hard work laying down poems at our annual CUPSI Warm-Up! The college-nationals bound teams from Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, and Simmons College, plus an all-star pick-up team forevermore to be known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, slammed off for real-time practice and bragging rights on our dirty little stage this past Wednesday.

After a stellar sacrifice performance by Evan Cutts (Quincy College), the teams entered a dramatic deathmatch of doom, using the old-style CUPSI 4×4 team rotation and all the wiles of poetry they could muster. The valiant Guardians of the Galaxy received the Best Poets Award (sometimes known as fourth place), with Simmons capping them by a few points and a solid showing of group pieces! Berklee received the runner-up prize and all the roses, but this year’s Warm-Up crown went to the poets of Emerson College. Congratulations to everyone, and good luck skill at CUPSI down in Richmond, Virginia next week!

Next week, locally: we’re back with our usual format of open mic, featured poet, and slam– and what a featured poet we have for you! Rachel Wiley, a much sought-after literary from one of our favorite slam scenes in the country (hi, Columbus!) will be in the house with her latest book, Fat Girl Finishing School. See you there!

Tips from the Bar: CUPSI!

Your grandmother explains the person you’ve become to your mother.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, March 18, 2015: CUPSI Warm-Up

Official logo for CUPSI '15 in Richmond, Virginia.

Official logo for CUPSI ’15 in Richmond, Virginia.

The annual collegiate national poetry slam tournament is the driving performative force behind a large number of the Cantab’s regular readers and listeners. This year, our local students (and some local familiar coaches as well) will be headed to Richmond, Virginia for the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, and we’re excited for them to do us proud.

To help our locals gear up for the national competition, we’ll be offering the CUPSI Warm-Up, a team slam featuring Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, Simmons College, and one more team TBD. (Got a team that’s looking for a last-minute competition? Drop a line to slammaster@bostonpoetryslam.com to see if there’s room to jump in!) This nationals-style 4×4 will incorporate all the collegiate regulations, poetry, and intensity of competition we’ve come to expect from CUPSI.

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. There is no open poetry slam tonight. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Holy springtime, insomniac poets! Warm-weather slam fans thawed out early enough yesterday to pack the house at open mic time, all in anticipation of a super-sharp feature from Jesse Parent. This two-time Individual World Poetry Slam runner-up showed off his incredible performance chops and wild persona work in a clown-filled roller coaster of a feature. Missed your chance at his work? This was his last show in New England this spring, but you can pick up The Noise That Is Not You (Sargent Press) on Jesse’s personal website.

After the feature, of course, we slam! Speed slam, that is: our 3-, 2-, and 1-minute round has brought out a number of speedster poets, not least those who are traveling to Albuquerque to compete in the Women of the World Poetry Slam next week. Our slam’s final pairing came down to two New-Mexico-bound ladypersons: veterans Nora Meiners and Sophia Holtz, both testing one-minute poems for the tournament. Sophia took top honors and the $10 in the final round: good luck to both in the desert next week!

We, of course, will be withstanding the warm mud of New England spring next Wednesday. And how better to celebrate than with the collegiate stylings of the Nationals-bound! In our annual CUPSI Warm-Up, teams from Emerson, Simmons, and Berklee will slam off to prep for their own upcoming tournament. Come catch a rising star! (We actually have room for one more team in this event, so email the SlamMaster if you have a college team who’d like to fill out a 4×4.)

Tips from the Bar: Trying Too Hard

Choose an utterly mundane activity (brushing your teeth, tying your shoes, etc.). Overwrite it as “poetically” as possible.

Cantab Feature for Wednesday, March 11, 2015: Jesse Parent

Jesse Parent, SLC performer and top-ranked individual slammer. Photo by Julie Moench Parent.

Jesse Parent, SLC performer and top-ranked individual slammer. Photo by Julie Moench Parent.

Jesse Parent is a poet, an improviser, a former mixed martial arts fighter, a computer nerd, a husband, a father, and, above all, a human being. According to the results of the 2010 and 2011 Individual World Poetry Slams, he is also the second ranked slam poet in the world. He also finished 5th at the 2012 Ontario International Poetry Slam and 4th at the 2014 Ill List Invitational Poetry Slam. His poetry has been featured on the Huffington Post, UpWorthy, TheBlaze.com, and WorldStarHipHop.com.

Jesse entered the world of performance poetry in December 2006 after touring for a few years with the poetry/music/improv show he created called The Hook. He has been on the Salt City Slam poetry teams from 2007-2014 (which included an 8th place finish at the 2011 and 2012 National Poetry Slams), was the coach of the 2007, 2008 and 2010 Salt City Slam teams, was the Salt Lake City grand champion in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013, and was the SlamMaster of Salt City Slam from 2007 to 2013. He has served on the Executive Council for Poetry Slam, Inc. and the rules committee for the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational tournament. Jesse continues to coach the Westminster College poetry slam team, which he has done since 2013.

In his professional life, Jesse is a software engineering manager at a company that provides products and services that help the deaf and hearing to communicate. In his other art life, Jesse tours nationally as one half of the improv duo JoKyR and Jesster, performs with Laughing Stock Improv at the Off Broadway Theatre on Main St. in Salt Lake City, and is an artistic associate of the prestigious Chicago Improv Festival. In his personal life, he has a very tolerant wife and three adorable kids.

Note that tonight’s open poetry slam is a speed slam with 3-, 2-, and 1-minute rounds. Slam winners qualify for the 2015 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 speed slam in the 8×8 series will follow. The show is 18+ (ID required) and the cover charge is $3.

Cantab Recap for Wednesday, March 4, 2015

If you weren’t there this Wednesday, I’m afraid we just don’t know how to explain Regie Gibson‘s feature to you. Sure, he showed off all the performance chops of a national slam champion, and all the writing skill you’d expect from a man holding an MFA in poetry. Yes, he made the stodgiest listener shout out in response to his lyrical work, and, yes, even the tipsiest barflies quieted down to listen to his literary finesse. Throw in a little casually looped beat-boxing and a good shake of mild heckling and you have all the ingredients of a great feature: but if you want the experience, you’ll want to check out his website to see where he’s headlining next.

UPDATE: how did we forget to mention our six-person slam from this Wednesday? Featuring a string of newcomers and powerful ladies, the field quickly boiled down to a WOWPS-bound Nora Meiners and a hungry-for-victory Chloé Cunha. Chloé took top honors in the lightning-quick one-minute round, earning the ten bucks and a shot at our springtime Speed Champion of Champions on May 20!

Next Wednesday: we continue our string of top national slammers with Jesse Parent, Salt Lake City improv nerd and two-time Individual World Poetry Slam runner-up. This long-lost New England native is home to stir up some fun in the city for his first-ever Cantab feature… Which will, of course, be followed by the next iteration of our speed slams. See you there!

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