Where theater meets poetry 

click to enlarge SUNNIE SACKS

He could whip your heinie at a magnetic poetry match, but that's not his style.

Instead, when words are flying, Kollin Luman chooses to rise above the fray: He plays host to the Progression Session Slam, a monthly expression fest at Utopia Cafe.

After years of surviving on "creative money" by hosting various karaoke nights around town, Luman returned to UCCS to study writing. Now the president of the Campus Literary Arts Society, the official sponsor of the Slam, Luman took his hosting skills to the performance-heavy evening where "theater meets poetry."

"This event exists so there's a venue for uncensored expression," says Luman. "It exists for the art of it."

But Luman hesitates to take credit for the event. In fact, it's the brainchild of fellow UCCS wordsmith Carol Horen, who was wowed by the Big Poppa E spoken word performance at Colorado College last year. It's "his fault," Luman says with a smile.

Though its atmosphere is casual and welcoming, the slam does adhere to nationally recognized slam guidelines: There's a three-minute limit and no props or music are allowed. The winners from each round (three in all) are chosen by five judges picked from the audience. ("They can't be dating, roommates with or otherwise intimate with any of the competitors.") Each performance is rated on a 10-point Olympic scale, and the evening's winner -- "The Slampion" -- walks away with the kitty from the door.

"The most we've given away is $78. That month, we paid someone's electric bill. Poets are poor."

While some poets are turned off by the slam's competitive aspect, some criticize the event for "emphasizing the money."

But, as Luman points out, "If it was about the money, it wouldn't be $1 at the door."


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