by Larry Holgerson
Downtown Fort Collins rolls pretty good any Friday night of the month. But the first Friday of every month brings art lovers out for the Art Walk to visit art studios, indulge in wine, cheese, and schmoozing.
But one Old Town coffee shop swells with literary creatives. Picking through their best poems, raps, spoken-word performances and ravings, they bring them out for a friendly competition at the First Friday Poetry slam held in the Bean Cycle coffee shop at 144 North College Avenue.
Around 7pm poetry lovers and spoken-word performance fans beginning filling the coffee shop. With Poet sign-up beginning at 7:30pm sharp, the line-up of 12 to 15 poets is most often filled by 7:31pm.
A poetry slam is an open competition for poetry and spoken-word presenters where five judges are chosen from the crowd, and assign scores to each 3-4 minute presentation. For over a decade, led by slam-master Larry “Booger” Holgerson in his silver cowboy boots and tie dye, from 8pm till 10pm, the room is stirring with loud and proud local “poets” sharing their personal revelations and most insightful and hard-learned lessons. Our unique CSU community of international students insures that diverse world views regularly enlighten the audience.
Top scores qualify poets to proceed to the second and third rounds, until finally one poet will take home all collected donations including cash, coupons, candies, and more.
Whether or not they consider themselves writers, those who dare to write down their experiences in response to the world around them, elicit pride, compassion and validation from the audience. Speakers include people experienced with anorexia, cutting, suicidal episodes and gender reassignment issues. The First Friday Poetry slam offers them a unique venue to share their experiences and often to connect with souls in similar situations.
At the end of the event, attendees are invited to continue on to a local restaurant to discuss the night’s highlights, bringing together poets to discuss their work with audience members.
Poetry slams have been so well attended and received that a second slam, “Slamogadro,” was started on the final Sunday of every month at 7pm at Avogadro’s Number at 605 South Mason to bring the writing community together for more interaction. Winners and presenters can be seen on YouTube by searching Booger Poetry, to view videos of previous performances.
Award-winning author, Scott Peck, wrote two cryptic statements as the beginning of two best-selling books: Life is hard. Life is complex. All the more reason to come join us at 7pm at the Bean Cycle on First Fridays where you will share in and get to appreciate some hard-won truths and revelations delivered by our poets — loud and proud!