Boston Poetry Slam

Poetry is one of the many art forms that allows people to creatively express themselves on life experiences without judgment. This artistic outlet builds deep connections between speakers and listeners and can spark communication in our community.

As an organization, Boston Poetry Slam creates a safe space for individuals and artists to make powerful declarations of their thoughts and opinions ranging from any subject. They host a show every Wednesday night at The Cantab Lounge in Central Square. They also hold a generative poetry or performance workshop once a month in which the feature of that week presents a writing prompt and allows the audience an opportunity to share afterwards.

Cassandra de Alba has been a part of this community since she was eighteen years old, driving two hours each way to attend their weekly shows. Over ten years later, she has found a way to give back by serving as a co-host and co-booker. During our interview, she touched on how the foundation’s audience ranges from young Emerson College students (specifically Theater majors) to older adults who have been attending for a long time that “grew up with this community.”

Photo by:   Marshall Goff

Photo by: Marshall Goff

Cassandra noted that more and more trans people have felt comfortable sharing their work in front of audiences. In addition, over the last few years she has particularly noticed an increase in the number of women who speak for the open-mic; it’s no longer male dominated. Even though there’s a “crowd of regulars,” Boston Poetry Slam welcomes first timers every week

The subjects poetry explores are extremely inclusive and expansive. Cassandra notes, “It’s really for them.

I think a lot of people get taught that a poem is a puzzle they have to figure out or something… But like poetry is something that can be a part of your life and I hope they would get that from the show.”

Poetry encourages intimate relationships and opens communication among people who have gone through similar circumstances or traumas.

“I think honestly it’s… feeling less alone. And having a new language to share those feelings.”

Cassandra hopes that the organization continues to bring poetry to audiences and that more people “who are maybe unsure if poetry is for them come up and share for the first time.” The unique natures of poetry slams are that they give anyone the chance to channel their emotions and experiences into an impassioned monologue. One of the greatest gifts that Boston Poetry Slam grants the artist is the freedom to share their most minor or most significant life experience, without fear of rejection. They provide individuals the ability to craft their thoughts and emotions into palpable and powerful art.