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June 29, 1997|DENNIS McLELLAN

The sixth annual Performance Poetry Contest--the only regularly scheduled contest of its kind in Southern California--will be held Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Gypsy Den Cafe and Reading Room in Costa Mesa.

"We envision a very intense night," says co-producer Lee Mallory, who will emcee the event.

Contestants must pay a $4 entry fee, but watching the contest is free to the public. Sign-ups will begin at 6:30 p.m. and are limited to the first 15 people. Each contestant's work will be judged on content, technique and timeliness (there's a five-minute limit).

"We want dense, highly compressed, supercharged language, and I think we're going to have a lot of seasoned performance poets there," Mallory says.

A $35 first prize will be awarded in the academic judging component of the contest. Mike Cluff, a creative-writing teacher at Riverside City College, and poet Jana will serve as judges.

The audience also gets to vote for the winner, Mallory says.

"We are very democratic in the sense we offer an additional [$35] first prize in what we call the popular vote category. . . . Every member of the audience gets a ballot, and they pick the poet they like the best."

The Gypsy Den Cafe and Reading Room, 2930 Bristol St., was recently voted one of Southern California's most popular poetry venues, according to a readers poll conducted by Next Magazine, the Long Beach-based performance poetry publication.

Also this week:

* Dr. Ronald Citron, author of "Dr. Citron's Evolutionary Diet and Cookbook," will speak and sign at 4 p.m. today at Super Crown, 14417 Culver Drive, Irvine.

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