Went There

Went There: Countertop Chants @ The Canopy Room

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6/27/19- Countertop Chants is a newly formed open mic that happened last Thursday at The Canopy Room in Bow Market Place in Somerville.

With a focus on poetry, readers and performers played songs, read prose, and told stories all to the enjoyment of the other readers and curious visitors alike. The founders of this event have a distinctive message for this open mic and that is to build a community in Boston to bolster the up and coming DIY poetry and literary community here in Boston.

Anytime a poetry reading series is away from the academies or big presses is good news to us and to the aspiring area writers and artists. The readers were of diverse experience, age and ability read. Poet Corey Howard read a few poems, Little Wolfe of Jamaica Plain provided the musical intermission halfway through and even myself, the humble author dared to take the mic to read some poems.

Happening every last Thursday of the month in The Canopy Room, activity surrounding Countertop Chants is something for the local poetry and zine connoisseur to keep their eyes on because these folks have a mission and a good deal of energy behind them.

I interviewed co-founder Lindsay Donovan briefly through email who worked to distill the other co-founders words, Courtney Fee and Jenna Calderara, into their responses.

Boston Hassle: Who are the founders and organizers?

Lindsay Donovan: We have three founders and organizers, Courtney Fee, Jenna Calderara, and Lindsay Donovan. All three of us went to art schools in Boston and have stayed after graduation, participating in our community in different ways; from art, poetry, marketing, and even craft beer.

BH: Why the name countertop chants?

LD: Our love of words and our art community started small, in classrooms or the Commons. It started at Allston house parties, huddled around the kitchen counters sharing our words. These Boston places and homes are where we whole-heartedly began our artistic endeavors and they seldom left our mind when brainstorming our new poetry sessions. Chants are the oldest form of sharing stories, words, music, and poetry. To us it also means accessible and communal, ideals we very much wanted to incorporate into these sessions. Countertop Chants is a community for poets and any local artists that is inclusive, inspired, and intimate.

BH: where did you get the inspiration to start the series?

LD: In college we would host our own poetry open mics, everywhere from Allston to Mission Hill in apartment basements, or even attics. People would share all different types of poetry, their whole hearts, and then we had parties after. That fun, inclusive, and artistic community was crucial to us developing as artists (and people). In school you also had groups, classes, structured ways to collaborate with other artists and refine your craft. But after college, we found inclusive communal opportunities to be hard to find. So we decided to recreate that unique space and feeling, with a little structure of course, and hope it will help keep the art scene in Boston thriving.

BH: What is the mission for the open mic?

LD: We want our monthly readings to be a place for Boston writers to share their work, meet new artist friends, explore the Boston area, and have fun. Boston has a strong community of artists and writers and they deserve an inclusive space to connect and enjoy their art while still making it a party. We especially want the vibe to be different than any other poetry open mic in the state. It’s our goal to create poetry readings with no pretension, stuffiness, or competition but instead ones that are ample with laughter, music, networking, vulnerability, and inclusiveness.

BH: Any info on the next one?

LD: Yes! Our next reading will be Thursday July 25th, 8-10 pm. Our readings will always be the 4th Thursday every month in The Canopy Room of Bow Market. We’ll be announcing the event and the musical intermission act in a week or so. In the future we’re hoping to partner with small presses to come and set up or other kinds of artists to make the night a little more diverse and vibrant for folks. If anyone has questions or wants to participate they can reach us at [email protected]!

Photo Taken from Countertop Chants Instagram Page.

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Chris Hues is a human & writer from Boston, Ma & music editor of bostonhassle.com. //// They can be reached at [email protected] or @crsjh_ via instagram & twitter.

For more of Chris’ musings, visit their medium page
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