Monday March 5th! NINA LI COOMES from Chicago! Plus! Emily Dickinson “On Helium!” Challenge!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2018 by dirtygerund

POETRY FEATURE: NINA LI COOOMES is a Japanese and American writer. She was born in Nagoya, raised in Chicago, and currently resides in  Brighton, MA.  Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in EATER, Catapult, The Collapsar, RHINO poetry, and The Margins, among other places. She is an alumna of Young Chicago Authors and the winner of the 2013 Louder Than A Bomb College Slam. In 2014, she co-wrote a bilingual poetry show titled Fressen sponsored by the U.S. State Department and German Foreign Office that toured Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Heidelberg. She is currently working on a book-length manuscript of womanist re-imaginations of the Bible.  In 2017 she was a part of the Kundiman Creative Nonfiction Intensive. Nina thoroughly enjoys teaching workshops that use writing as a therapeutic means of self expression and community building in the face of social and generational trauma. Her teaching experience thus far has been primarily with refugee and interfaith-focused youth.
At her day job, she thinks about U.S.-Japan relations.  In 2016, she helped to produce           もし、あなたの家族が…〜日本の移植医療に未来はあるのか〜」an award-winning documentary about pediatric organ transplant policy between the U.S. and Japan. Her debut chapbook haircut poems is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in December 2017.

BONUS RUCKUS: The annual “EMILY DICKINSON on HELIUM” PERFORMANCE CHALLENGE. This monday’s feature is super smart, so we figured we had to balance out the show a little bit with something, uh, uhm, not as smart. This annual challenge works on the historical fact that there are no audio recordings of Emily Dickinson reading her poetry. This challenge works on the supposition that it’s entirely possible that Emily’s voice may have sounded like someone experimenting with helium at a child’s birthday party. We’re probably incorrect, but we are people of science and thought we’d give this experiment a high pitched whirl! Enter, get a balloon and a classic piece of literature, take a monster rip and take us back to a parallel dimension. Best performer gets a beverage on us!

2017 Local Pow! WOW! Arts Festival participant FERDINAND will be on hand to handle the live visual arts! MARK LEIGHTON will be back with the band! Snacks, open mic, and all the rest will be going down this Monday!


Monday, Feb 26th! JOELY BARRIOS from Providence! Plus HOLY HOT SAUCE SONNET CHALLENGE!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2018 by dirtygerund

POETRY FEATURE: JOELY BARRIOS is a nonbinary Venezuelan-Dominican poet currently living in Boston. Formerly an undocuqueer, they are still still queer and here! They grew up in the greatest city on earth, Providence Rhode Island. While in high school, they represented Providence Poetry Slam twice at the annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival and slam tournament. Joely is currently a fourth year communication major at Northeastern University where they’ve represented NU twice at the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI). Currently a semi-finalist for the House Slam Boston 2018 slam team, this is their first time performing in Worcester, so let’s get extra excited!

BONUS RUCKUS: The return of the HOLY HOT SAUCE! Sonnet Challenge! Yup, it’s popular poetry slang for poems to “melt your face off,” and we’re trying to go somewhat literal with that this Monday, as we challenge those with strong taste buds to take a shot of super heated sauce, then attempt to make it through the reading of a Shakespearean Sonnet. $20 &  glass of milk on the line for the performer who makes it through the fire the best!

Former Worcester Arts Council Fellow DON HARTMAN will be handling the visual arts this Monday! Bring those auction dollars. Snacks, live band and open mic and all the smiles you can handle on a Monday night!

Monday Feb 19th! Manchester NH’s EMILY EASTMAN plus! IRON POET QUALIFIER

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2018 by dirtygerund

POETRY FEATURE: EMILY EASTMAN is a genderqueer poet & organizer who hails from Manchester; New Hampshire’s loudest middle child. A longtime community & staff member of the Slam Free or Die poetry series, they have helped to facilitate countless events & workshops on both a local & national level. They have represented Slam Free or Die at many national tournaments, including the Individual World Poetry Slam (2014, 2015) the Women of the World Poetry Slam (2016, 2017) and the National Poetry Slam (2015, 2016, 2017.) Interests include strong coffee, dismantling the white supremacist cisheteropatriarchy, & spending dinner dates talking about radical softness. Their greatest review to date came as a text from their 11-year-old sister: “Adequate.”

BONUS RUCKUS: We’re looking for a challenger to face current champ ASHLEY WONDER next month. 3 rounds, 2 competitors, 3 poetic concoctions, 3 judges, 3 criteria for scores and one diabolical secret ingredient! Get ready! The band’s gonna get presidential on Monday, with MARK LEIGHTON bringing back facial hair as a symbol of a good leader (credit Mike McGee on that line), snacks and visual arts and open mic and no public school, so we’re hoping to see some teachers in the house, kicking back and enjoying the winter with us!

Monday Feb 12th! NATHALIE IRMER from CHICAGO! Plus! DEAD-END DATING GAME Bonus Ruckus!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2018 by dirtygerund

POETRY FEATURE: NATHALIE IRMER is a poet from the Southside of Chicago whose art explores the intersections of her identities  and experiences as a queer, black woman. Believing in the power of voice and individual narrative to catalyze radical change, she has led youth workshops and open mics both in Chicago and Western MA. Nathalie is the 2017 Chicago Grand Slam Champion and has represented Chicago at the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam, the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam, and at the 2017 National Poetry Slam. She was a member of the 2016 Northampton National Poetry Slam Team, as well. She is a certified knick-knack enthusiast, lowkey awkward, and watches slime videos in her spare time. Nathalie is currently on her first your — EVER– across New England and New York, and isn’t freaking out at all.

BONUS RUCKUS: The “DEAD END DATING GAME” is back! Clown Princess of the Gerund & No Fux Given award winner AMBER TORTORELLI is a great artist and excellent sport and has agreed to act as Bachelorette for the evneing. Amber’s filled out our questionnaire survey, and we’re gonna see what Gerunder has the poetic answers for an “un-likely” chance to win a date with Amber. Amber won’t know who’s answering the questions because we’re going to disguise the contestants by having proxy readers provide their responses. Let’s see if someone wins a date (all expenses paid trip to Wendy’s drive thru & Redbox) and see if we can avoid the dead-end date this Valentine’s Day Week. Believe in love? We kinda don’t, but we believe in loving the chase!

Join us for open mic, live band, visual arts and snacks this Monday! Bring your loveliest love poems, or your angstiest love lost poems. We promise to love them all, or love you for spending your Monday with us!

Monday, Feb 5th, MARSHALL “GRIPP” GILLSON from House Slam Boston! Plus! Winter Olympics Hai-clue Guess Challenge!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2018 by dirtygerund
POETRY FEATURE: MARSHALL “Gripp” GILLSON is a nerd by day and an artist by day also. He has been active as a spoken word artist since 2008, representing six different venues in four different states in national competition. In 2016 and 2017, as a member of the House Slam team, he appeared on back-to-back National Poetry Slam final stages and won back-to-back Vox Pop slam tournaments. He also placed 15th in the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam. His work has appeared in several self-published chapbooks and electronic art installations as well as being featured by Button Poetry, SlamFind, Everyday Feminism, and SlamChop. In 2011, Marshall officially founded glassEyeballs, an artist services company. Under the brand, he provides workshops, poetry shows, and technical artist services, including overseeing the web-based scoring systems for six national poetry tournaments. In his spare time, he enjoys shuffling awkwardly, hiding from his problems, and writing biographies in the third person.
BONUS RUCKUS: OLYMPICS IN WINTER? OKAY! Hai-clue Guess Quiz Show Challenge! So, apparently there are “winter” sports. Who knew? Oh, you did? Great, don’t know why you need to make us feel bad about it. Like, they should advertise that? We figured we’d help get the word out and offer original 17 syllable, poetic clues that describe the various events. Your job? Take a guess at what we’re talking about, win a point, first to three points gets a drink on us! Top shelf! THERE WILL BE SNACKS, LIVE BAND, VISUAL ARTS, OPEN MIC, and references to the big Sunday game and adjacent commercials! Watch us not sell out this Monday! Big announcement soon regarding our upcoming 500th show! Like us on social media platforms to make sure you’re in the know, you know?

Monday, Jan 29th! LULU HAWKES features! plus ” The Prompt & Circumstance” Challenge!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2018 by dirtygerund
FEATURED POET: LULAMA MOYO (aka LULU HAWKES) is a Clark alumni. She gained a B.A. in International Development and Social Change in 2016, and in 2017 she graduated from the Accelerated Master’s Degree program where she studied Community Development and Planning. Using her academic career to explore her passion of education development, she focused on access advocacy, decolonizing the classroom and curriculum, and African Diasporic achievement. Her Master’s research focused on the multicultural children’s literature gap and it’s impact on achievement for young learners of African Diaspora. Lulama presented her research at the African Literature Association Conference. As a Zimbabwean immigrant, it is important for her to use her platform to dispel negative and inaccurate tropes about Africa and African cultures. As a nationally competitive slam poet, and visual artist, Lulama has also utilized art as a vehicle for education and social change. She has had works published in newspapers, and academic journals such as the Journal of Progressive Human Services. Lulama has facilitated writing and performance workshops for elementary, middle school, and high school students in different parts of New England, focusing on art as a means of social justice. She has also run art expression workshops in Eastern Cape, South Africa. Lulama formerly worked at the Worcester Youth Center where she built curriculum and ran three major programs, one of which was a a social justice oriented arts workshops for youth ages 14-18. This experience was a source of light that motivates her to continue working hard for young people. She currently works more behind the scenes in education advocacy as a Grants Coordinator and Teacher Support Specialist for ASSISTments which is an organization operating under Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She supports efforts to bring free tutoring technology to schools to increase student achievement. Lulama remains to be a diligent community organizer and activist dismantling the legacies of white supremacy. Her socially conscious writing style encompasses a longing for her home culture as well as a deep love letter to the diaspora.
BONUS RUCKUS: Return of the “Prompt & Circumstance” Writing Challenge – we bring the weird objects, you bring the talent! We’ll randomly give you an object that serves as both your writing prompt and writing surface! Winner gets a drink on us! We’ll be back at ya with visual arts, snacks, music and one of the cookiest open mics in the business!


Monday, Jan 22nd! KFG from Grand Rapids MI! Plus IRON POET CHAMPIONSHIPS “Wonder vs. Lizzard!”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2018 by dirtygerund

POETRY FEATURE: KFG is a potpourri of queerness hatched from the Great Lake State.  An award-winning poet and spoken word artist who has been featured on NPR, worked with youth programs across the country; co-organized the re-installation of Slam Poetry in Grand Rapids, & was on the first team to represent the team at the National Poetry Slam in over a decade in 2017. KFG goes by “they” because most days they feel more like a planet than just one person.  They are perhaps too passionate about ice cream & feel most alive dancing like they’ve got no bones. One half of the “Unpacking Poetry Tour,” first time performing in Worcester, so let’s.go.

BONUS RUCKUS: IRON POET CHAMPIONSHIP, “WONDER vs. LIZZARD”! It’s the first title defense for new champion ASHLEY WONDER, and what better way to test her defense skills than pairing her with plucky upstart challenger and “Ruckuteer of the Year” NARK LIZZARD! You know how this goes, 2 poets, 3 rounds, 3 judges judging on 3 criteria, 1 trophy and 1 diabolical secret ingredient from the chairman!

This Saturday, the show pre-party is happening at Worcester Worcshop Speakeasy! with food by EMILEE, and performances by NICHOLAS EARL DAVIS, SHANE HALL and more! We’ll have more live arts, music, open mic and a ricecake alert get at EMILEE to volunteer snacks or else!