Literary Death Match - Salt Lake City

Literary Death Match

Literary Death Match

Literary Death Match

Oct 16, 2018, 7:00 pm


Literary Death Match

Book Title



Salt Lake City

Wasatch Front Region


Sugar Space
638 S State St
Salt Lake City , UT 84111-3820
Map [+]


Utah Humanities presents the triumphant return of Adrian Todd Zuniga and Literary Death Match to Salt Lake City! LDM marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol's judging (without the meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare. Judges for this event will include: Brian Laidlaw, Cassie Cox, and Angelika Brewer. Contestants to be announced soon. Tickets are $10.00 and are available at

How It Works: Literary Death Match features a mix of four established and emerging writers who perform their most electric work before a live audience and a panel of three all-star judges. After a pair of readings, the judges take turns spouting hilarious, off-the-wall commentary, focusing on Literary Merit, Performance and Intangibles. The judges select one writer from each round to advance to the finals, where we trade in the show's literary sensibility for an absurdly comical climax — like Pin the Mustache on Hemingway, or a literary spelling bee featuring complicated author names — to decide who takes home the Literary Death Match crown. For more info on LDM, visit:


Brian Laidlaw is a poet, songwriter and educator from Northern California. He earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Minnesota, and then joined the Songwriting faculty at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN Hisrecent releases include the vinyl-LP-plus-poetry-chapbook AMORATORIUM (Paper Darts Press), the book/album THE STUNTMAN (Milkweed Editions), and the 7” vinyl single JEREMIAD (Hymie’s Vintage Records), as well as the forthcoming full-length collection THE MIRRORMAKER (Milkweed Editions, 2018).

Yolanda J. Franklin is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, a recipient of a 2016-2017 McKnight Dissertation Fellowship and a Kingsbury writing award. Franklin is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. Her poems appear in the current issue or are forthcoming in the following journals: Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, and the Apalachee Review. Her poetry also appears in the recent anthology “It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop” and is a two-time recipient of a J.M. Shaw Academy of American Poets Award. Franklin is a third generation Floridian, born in the state’s capital — Tallahassee. She loves dancing to old school hip-hop, baking, food tasting, and can be found at her favorite coffee shop, Black Dog Café in Railroad Square enjoying a drink the baristas named after her.

Ryan Jones began performing spoken word in 2012 after joining the B.L.A.C.K Poets in Macon, GA. After entering and winning his first competitive poetry slam that same year (Bad Mamma Jamma Slam, Hosted by A.A.C. in Milledgeville), Ryan helped to lead Mercer University's inaugural poetry slam team to the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in 2015, where they placed 20th in the nation for collegiate spoken word. In 2016, Ryan led Mercer University's team back to C.U.P.S.I. as an assistant coach and team poet. In 2017, Ryan represented the Java Monkey Slam Team in Atlanta, GA at the National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado. Ryan also competed in the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2017, and competed in and won the TedX Peachtree Poetry Slam the same year. In 2018, Ryan became a Cave Canem Fellow, and also won the Art Amok Grand Slam Finals, making him the 2018 Art Amok Slam Champion.

Angelika Brewer has a passion for helping people, troubled youth in particular. She is a spoken word poet who travels across Utah to speak in classrooms, schools and community events about the benefits of spoken word poetry being implemented in the lives of youth and adults alike. Along with performances, she offers writing and performing workshops, resources for young writers, performers and artists, as well as organize events for sharing writing, art, and music within the community.


Kase Johnstun lives and writes in Ogden, Utah. He is the founder of the LITerally podcast, which explores the writers and literary works of Utah and the surrounding region. He is the author of recently released "Beyond the Grip Craniosynostosis," which has been featured in Pennsylvania Parenting Magazine, Portland Family Magazine, The Ogden Standard Examiner, and many other places. It was recently awarded the Gold Quill (First Place) in Creative Nonfiction by the League of Utah Writers for 2015. His work has been published widely by literary journals and trade magazines, including, but not limited to, Yahoo Parenting, Creative Nonfiction Magazine, and The Chronicle Review.

Abraham Smith is the author of five poetry collections: Dsetruction of Man (Third Man Books, 2018); Ashagalomancy (Action Books, 2015); Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer (Action Books, 2014); Hank (Action Books, 2010); and Whim Man Mammon (Action Books, 2007). In 2015, he released Hick Poetics (Lost Roads Press), a co-edited anthology of contemporary rural American poetry and related essays. His creative work has been recognized with fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Cassie Cox is an English teacher at Two Rivers High School in Ogden. She is one of the recipients of the 2018 UEA Excellence in Teaching Awards as well as a Teacher of the Year Award from the 100% For Kids Credit Union Foundation. Cox incorporates civil rights and social justice themes into much of what she does, providing her students opportunities to meet countless writers, members of the Little Rock Nine, Simeon Wright (cousin of Emmett Till), and many more.

This event is made possible with the support of Utah Humanities.