This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 423,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Canadian slam poet R.C. Weslowski features at the Sedona Poetry Slam Saturday, March 29, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre

One of Canada's best known performance poets, R.C. Weslowski, features at the fourth Sedona Poetry Slam of 2014, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. State Route 89A, Suite A-3.

Weslowski was the 2012 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion and has represented English Canada twice at the World Cup of Poetry in Paris, France, finishing second and fifth overall.

Weslowski has recently being performing his own one person shows "The Wet Dream Catcher" and "The Cruelest Phone Book in the World" at various Canadian Fringe Theatre Festivals. Weslowski has also been published in Quills, One Cool Word and most recently CV2. Weslowski also organizes youth poetry events inn Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and has co-hosted the poetry radio show Wax Poetic for the past 13 years.

As a performer R.C. Weslowski is a five-time member of the Vancouver Poetry Slam Team and has performed at Festival across Canada, including: The Calgary International Poetry Festival, The Winnipeg Writer's Festival, The Saskatchewan Festival of Words, The Vancouver Folk Festival, The Vancouver Storytelling Fesival, Music West, The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.

As an event organizer R.C. Weslowski was the artistic director for the 2005 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and the publicity coordinator for the 2007 Individual World Poetry Slam.

Weslowski has also performed his poetry on the Eiffel Tower while snorting the remains of Orson Welles and along the Rhine River in Germany while debating Schopenhauer with a schnauser. But aside from all that he will literally blow your brain apart and put it back together again using nothing but his voice. Seriously

All Canadian nationals and expatriates living in and visiting Sedona and the Verde Valley are specially encouraged to attend.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne and Jim Freeland.

The slam is the fourth the 2014 season, which will culminate in selection of Sedona's third National Poetry Slam Team, the foursome and alternate who will represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, Calif., in August. Poets in the slam come from as far away as Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, competing against adult poets from Sedona and Cottonwood and youth poets from Sedona Red Rock High School's Young Voices Be Heard slam group.

Future slams take place Saturday, April 26, and Saturday, May 17. The final Grand Poetry Slam takes place Saturday, June 7, to determine the team.

Slam poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted.

All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain their audience with their creativity.

The poets will be judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive.

The local poets will share the stage with 300 of the top poets in the United States, Canada and Europe, pouring out their words in a weeklong explosion of expression. Sedona sent its five-poet first team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., and its second to the 2013 NPS in Boston and Cambridge, Mass.

The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on seven FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

Tickets are $12.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

What is Poetry Slam?

Founded in Chicago in 1984 by construction worker Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Poet Zachary Kluckman features at the third Sedona Poetry Slam on March 8

Poet Zachary Kluckman features at the third Sedona Poetry Slam of 2014, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, March 8, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. State Route 89A, Suite A-3.

Zachary Kluckman
A performance poet since 2006, Kluckman is a two-time member of the Albuquerque, N.M., national poetry slam team, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and recipient of the Red Mountain Press National Poetry Prize.

When he is not amusing himself trying to untangle string cheese, Kluckman publishes poetry in anthologies and publications like the New York Quarterly, Cutthroat and Red Fez. Featured on more than 500 radio stations, with appearances on many of the nation's most notorious stages, he is an accomplished spoken word artist, as well as the Spoken Word Editor for the Pedestal. An activist, youth advocate and organizer, he has been recognized twice for making world history as the creator of the world's only Slam Poet Laureate Program and an organizer for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change program, the largest poetry reading in history.

As a youth advocate, Kluckman donates hundreds of hours a year to working with and empowering the youth. His first full-length collection, "Animals in Our Flesh," has received warm reviews from Jimmy Santiago Baca among others and his second collection, "Some of it is Muscle" has just been released by Swimming with Elephants Publications.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

The slam is the third the 2014 season, which will culminate in selection of Sedona's third National Poetry Slam Team, the foursome and alternate who will represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, Calif., in August.

Future slams take place Saturday, March 29, Saturday, April 26, and Saturday, May 17. The final Grand Poetry Slam takes place Saturday, June 7, to determine the team.

Slam poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted.

All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain their audience with their creativity.

The poets will be judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive.

The local poets will share the stage with 300 of the top poets in the United States, Canada and Europe, pouring out their words in a weeklong explosion of expression. Sedona sent its five-poet first team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., and its second to the 2013 NPS in Boston and Cambridge, Mass.

The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on seven FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

Tickets are $12.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

What is Poetry Slam?

Founded in Chicago in 1984 by construction worker Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sedona on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"


Sedona made it on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
... While Stewart was slamming Arizona about SB 1062 ... but hey, we got on TV.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Danny Strack and Ruff Draft feature at FlagSlam on Wednesday, Feb. 12

Danny Strack:

Danny Strack has won individual and group slam championships at the national, regional and city levels.

Most recently, Danny was a member of the 2012 Austin Neo-Soul team, which won the National Group Poem finals.

He's the current Slammaster and executive director of the Austin Poetry Slam, and has written 10 books of poetry and two full length plays, both of which were presented in 2012 and 2013 by Austin's Sky Candy Aerial Circus Arts Collective.

Danny is also a juggler with Sky Candy, likes balloons, walking, and is happy to be alive.



Ruff Draft:

Thomas, son of Stephen, son of Richard, son of Stephen, son of George, son of Henry, son of William, grew up in Rhode Island. Ruff attended his first slam in 2000 in Burlington, Vt., and it changed his life.

From these humble beginnings, Ruff went on to become a member of the PDX 2003 National Slam.


Ten years ago, he was inspired to move to Austin by the APS Team's final's stage performance at NPS 2003 in Chicago.

He became a beloved poet and host at the Austin Poetry Slam, and now he's moving back to PDX after 10 years.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

First Sedona Poetry Slam of 2014 is this Saturday, Jan. 11

The first Sedona Poetry Slam of 2014 kicks off at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. State Route 89A, Suite A-3.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

The slam is the first the 2014 season, which will culminate in selection of Sedona's third National Poetry Slam Team, the foursome and alternate who will represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, Calif., in August.

Future slams take place:
  • Saturday, Feb. 1
  • Saturday, March 8
  • Saturday, March 29
  • Saturday, April 26
  • Saturday, May 17
  • The final Grand Poetry Slam takes place Saturday, June 7, to determine the team.

Slam poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted.

All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain their audience with their creativity.

The poets will be judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive.

The local poets will share the stage with 300 of the top poets in the United States, Canada and Europe, pouring out their words in a weeklong explosion of expression. Sedona sent its five-poet first team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., and its second to the 2013 NPS in Boston and Cambridge, Mass.

The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on seven FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

Tickets are $12.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

What is Poetry Slam?


Founded in Chicago in 1984 by construction worker Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

“Midgley” by Christopher Fox Graham


we met on a bridge outside town
one-time nearly neighbors
his story ended 200 feet below

we were introduced by a sheriff's deputy
who stood between us
making sure no secrets could pass
between two men in the dark

beneath us both
this bridge of steel of iron
was riveted by men who now
all lay under the dirt
or in cemetery urns
this bridge holds 80 years of stories secret

each rivet and bolt
tells a separate story:
a birth in a foundry
a journey to this place
a final, spasmodic twist into steel
they are buried under fingerprints
of dead men
still hear the echoing voices
from the last time they were touched
their function is not move
if they surrender their purpose
give up on existence
yield their life to hold this bridge
this roadway will crumble into the canyon
but we don't learn from them
how to hold on

for us, this man
and me beside him
we have no bridge to weld ourselves into
the will to move will robs us of reasons to hold fast
we forget we have whole cities who will mourn our absence

I contemplate this for us
because he longer can:
he is silence and weight
waiting for men to carry him
in a zippered bag

a few hours ago
he stood a few feet from here
leaned forward
and let the laws of gravity
judge his weight too heavy to fly

did the rivets in this bridge hear him cry out
did he ever utter a sound
as he jumped from the edge
fell past the steel bolts and iron bars
diving like the birds
did they cry out,
wait! stop!
we have seen how this ends!

the rivets tried to unbolt themselves
creak and bend the iron to reach out and catch him
but decades ago men's tools drove them deep into steel
and they cannot move
they cannot let go
or this bridge will fall
and they will have no purpose
5 feet, 10 feet, 20 feet, 40 feet, 80 feet, 160 feet

some watched him strike the rocks below
but most tried to avert their gaze
twist toward the sky and hope at the last moment
the earth would fall away
and catch him soft

but hours later, they watched in the same silence
as more men carried him a basket to where he last stood
where I had arrived to meet him

to me the journalist
to these men, rescuers turned pallbearers
he is a late-night call
a recovery, a press release, an obituary

but the rivets
the steel beneath us
can't forget him
they have nowhere to go
no new places or stories to replace these nights
he is with them
deeper than fingerprints
and with every passing car
this bridge shudders
wondering
who may be next



For the family of the man whose body was recovered Oct. 9, 2013.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The "Pale Blue Dot," by Carl Sagan




"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different.

The "Pale Blue Dot," taken Feb. 14, 1990
"Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Astronomer Carl Sagan
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

"The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

Carl Sagan
"Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space"
1997 reprint, pp. xv–xvi

Friday, August 30, 2013

Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney has died


Digging
By Seamus Heaney
Between my finger and my thumb   
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

From the Poetry Foundation:
Seamus Heaney (April 13, 1939-Aug. 30, 2013) is widely recognized as one of the major poets of the 20th century. A native of Northern Ireland, Heaney was raised in County Derry, and later lived for many years in Dublin. He was the author of over 20 volumes of poetry and criticism, and edited several widely used anthologies. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past." Heaney taught at Harvard University (1985-2006) and served as the Oxford Professor of Poetry (1989-1994)

Heaney has attracted a readership on several continents and has won prestigious literary awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize. As Blake Morrison noted in his work Seamus Heaney, the author is "that rare thing, a poet rated highly by critics and academics yet popular with 'the common reader.'" Part of Heaney's popularity stems from his subject matter—modern Northern Ireland, its farms and cities beset with civil strife, its natural culture and language overrun by English rule. The New York Review of Books essayist Richard Murphy described Heaney as "the poet who has shown the finest art in presenting a coherent vision of Ireland, past and present." Heaney's poetry is known for its aural beauty and finely-wrought textures. Often described as a regional poet, he is also a traditionalist who deliberately gestures back towards the “pre-modern” worlds of William Wordsworth and John Clare.

Heaney was born and raised in Castledawson, County Derry, Northern Ireland. The impact of his surroundings and the details of his upbringing on his work are immense. As a Catholic in Protestant Northern Ireland, Heaney once described himself in the New York Times Book Review as someone who "emerged from a hidden, a buried life and entered the realm of education." Eventually studying English at Queen’s University, Heaney was especially moved by artists who created poetry out of their local and native backgrounds—authors such as Ted Hughes, Patrick Kavanagh, and Robert Frost. Recalling his time in Belfast, Heaney once noted: "I learned that my local County Derry [childhood] experience, which I had considered archaic and irrelevant to 'the modern world' was to be trusted. They taught me that trust and helped me to articulate it." Heaney’s work has always been most concerned with the past, even his earliest poems of the 1960s. According to Morrison, a "general spirit of reverence toward the past helped Heaney resolve some of his awkwardness about being a writer: he could serve his own community by preserving in literature its customs and crafts, yet simultaneously gain access to a larger community of letters." Indeed, Heaney's earliest poetry collections— Death of a Naturalist (1966) and Door into the Dark (1969)—evoke "a hard, mainly rural life with rare exactness," according to critic and Parnassus contributor Michael Wood. Using descriptions of rural laborers and their tasks and contemplations of natural phenomena—filtered through childhood and adulthood—Heaney "makes you see, hear, smell, taste this life, which in his words is not provincial, but parochial; provincialism hints at the minor or the mediocre, but all parishes, rural or urban, are equal as communities of the human spirit," noted Newsweek correspondent Jack Kroll.

As a poet from Northern Ireland, Heaney used his work to reflect upon the "Troubles," the often-violent political struggles that plagued the country during Heaney’s young adulthood. The poet sought to weave the ongoing Irish troubles into a broader historical frame embracing the general human situation in the books Wintering Out (1973) and North (1975). While some reviewers criticized Heaney for being an apologist and mythologizer, Morrison suggested that Heaney would never reduce political situations to false simple clarity, and never thought his role should be as a political spokesman. The author "has written poems directly about the Troubles as well as elegies for friends and acquaintances who have died in them; he has tried to discover a historical framework in which to interpret the current unrest; and he has taken on the mantle of public spokesman, someone looked to for comment and guidance," noted Morrison. "Yet he has also shown signs of deeply resenting this role, defending the right of poets to be private and apolitical, and questioning the extent to which poetry, however 'committed,' can influence the course of history." In the New Boston Review, Shaun O'Connell contended that even Heaney's most overtly political poems contain depths that subtly alter their meanings. "Those who see Seamus Heaney as a symbol of hope in a troubled land are not, of course, wrong to do so," O'Connell stated, "though they may be missing much of the undercutting complexities of his poetry, the backwash of ironies which make him as bleak as he is bright."

Heaney’s first foray into the world of translation began with the Irish lyric poem Buile Suibhne. The work concerns an ancient king who, cursed by the church, is transformed into a mad bird-man and forced to wander in the harsh and inhospitable countryside. Heaney's translation of the epic was published as Sweeney Astray: A Version from the Irish (1984). New York Times Book Review contributor Brendan Kennelly deemed the poem "a balanced statement about a tragically unbalanced mind. One feels that this balance, urbanely sustained, is the product of a long, imaginative bond between Mr. Heaney and Sweeney." This bond is extended into Heaney's 1984 volume Station Island, where a series of poems titled "Sweeney Redivivus" take up Sweeney's voice once more. The poems reflect one of the book’s larger themes, the connections between personal choices, dramas and losses and larger, more universal forces such as history and language. In The Haw Lantern (1987)Heaney extends many of these preoccupations. W.S. DiPiero described Heaney's focus: "Whatever the occasion—childhood, farm life, politics and culture in Northern Ireland, other poets past and present—Heaney strikes time and again at the taproot of language, examining its genetic structures, trying to discover how it has served, in all its changes, as a culture bearer, a world to contain imaginations, at once a rhetorical weapon and nutriment of spirit. He writes of these matters with rare discrimination and resourcefulness, and a winning impatience with received wisdom."

With the publication of Selected Poems, 1966-1987 (1990) Heaney marked the beginning of a new direction in his career. Poetry contributor William Logan commented of this new direction, "The younger Heaney wrote like a man possessed by demons, even when those demons were very literary demons; the older Heaney seems to wonder, bemusedly, what sort of demon he has become himself." In Seeing Things (1991) Heaney demonstrates even more clearly this shift in perspective. Jefferson Hunter, reviewing the book for the Virginia Quarterly Review, maintained that collection takes a more spiritual, less concrete approach. "Words like 'spirit' and 'pure'… have never figured largely in Heaney's poetry," Hunter explained. However, in Seeing Things Heaney uses such words to "create a new distanced perspective and indeed a new mood" in which "'things beyond measure' or 'things in the offing' or 'the longed-for' can sometimes be sensed, if never directly seen." The Spirit Level (1996) continues to explore humanism, politics and nature.

Always respectfully received, Heaney’s later work, including his second collected poems, Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996 (1998), has been lavishly praised. Reviewing Opened Ground for the New York Times Book Review, Edward Mendelson commented that the volume “eloquently confirms [Heaney’s] status as the most skillful and profound poet writing in English today." With Electric Light (2001), Heaney broadened his range of allusion and reference to Homer and Virgil, while continuing to make significant use of memory, elegy and the pastoral tradition. According to John Taylor in Poetry, Heaney "notably attempts, as an aging man, to re-experience childhood and early-adulthood perceptions in all their sensate fullness." Paul Mariani in America found Electric Light "a Janus-faced book, elegiac" and "heartbreaking even." Mariani noted in particular Heaney's frequent elegies to other poets and artists, and called Heaney "one of the handful writing today who has mastered that form as well."

Heaney’s next volume District and Circle (2006) won the T.S. Eliot Prize, the most prestigious poetry award in the UK. Commenting on the volume for the New York Times, critic Brad Leithauser found it remarkably consistent with the rest of Heaney’s oeuvre. But while Heaney’s career may demonstrate an “of-a-pieceness” not common in poetry, Leithauser found that Heaney’s voice still “carries the authenticity and believability of the plainspoken—even though (herein his magic) his words are anything but plainspoken. His stanzas are dense echo chambers of contending nuances and ricocheting sounds. And his is the gift of saying something extraordinary while, line by line, conveying a sense that this is something an ordinary person might actually say.”

Heaney’s prose constitutes an important part of his work. Heaney often used prose to address concerns taken up obliquely in his poetry. In The Redress of Poetry (1995), according to James Longenbach in the Nation, "Heaney wants to think of poetry not only as something that intervenes in the world, redressing or correcting imbalances, but also as something that must be redressed—re-established, celebrated as itself." The book contains a selection of lectures the poet delivered at Oxford University as Professor of Poetry. Heaney's Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971-2001 (2002) earned the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism, the largest annual prize for literary criticism in the English language. John Carey in the London Sunday Times proposed that Heaney's "is not just another book of literary criticism…It is a record of Seamus Heaney's thirty-year struggle with the demon of doubt. The questions that afflict him are basic. What is the good of poetry? How can it contribute to society? Is it worth the dedication it demands?" Heaney himself described his essays as "testimonies to the fact that poets themselves are finders and keepers, that their vocation is to look after art and life by being discoverers and custodians of the unlooked for."

As a translator, Heaney’s most famous work is the translation of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf (2000). Considered groundbreaking because of the freedom he took in using modern language, the book is largely credited with revitalizing what had become something of a tired chestnut in the literary world. Malcolm Jones in Newsweek stated: "Heaney's own poetic vernacular—muscular language so rich with the tones and smell of earth that you almost expect to find a few crumbs of dirt clinging to his lines—is the perfect match for the Beowulf poet's Anglo-Saxon…As retooled by Heaney, Beowulf should easily be good for another millennium." Though he has also translated Sophocles, Heaney remains most adept with medieval works. He translated Robert Henryson’s Middle Scots classic and follow-up to Chaucer, The Testament of Cresseid and Seven Fables in 2009.

In 2009, Seamus Heaney turned 70. A true event in the poetry world, Ireland marked the occasion with a 12-hour broadcast of archived Heaney recordings. It was also announced that two-thirds of the poetry collections sold in the UK the previous year had been Heaney titles. Such popularity was almost unheard of in the world of contemporary poetry, and yet Heaney’s voice is unabashedly grounded in tradition. Heaney’s belief in the power of art and poetry, regardless of technological change or economic collapse, offers hope in the face of an increasingly uncertain future. Asked about the value of poetry in times of crisis, Heaney answered it is precisely at such moments that people realize they need more to live than economics: “If poetry and the arts do anything,” he said, “they can fortify your inner life, your inwardness."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Haikus from last night's FlagSlam

Erotic Geography Haiku
Mediterranean wet;
I call your thighs "Ceuta"
and "Gibralter"

Final Kiss Haiku
Only one of us
knew it was our last kiss
I gave you no warning

Higgs Boson Haiku
A Higgs boson walks
into a church, says, "I'm here
now you can have Mass"

Frustrated Nerd Haiku
R2D2 and
Daleks are from different
universes! Fuck, Mom!

Trespassers on the 7th Hole Haiku
Cop says, "This golf course
is not a park." No one thought
to tell the children

God's Hug Haiku
If there's a god,
his hug must be soft and squishy
John Q, are you ... god?

Statistical Probability Haiku
By December
three of you will have slept with John Q.
Who will it be?

Oblivious to Irony Haiku
Christian says
"That guy's trapped in a cult;"
I say, "you're trapped in irony"

Austin Reeves Needs a Steak Haiku
Sex with Austin
is like fucking tortilla chips:
salty, sharp, angles

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I am the new managing editor of the Sedona Red Rock News, The Camp Verde Journal, and the Cottonwood Journal Extra

Larson Newspapers announces the promotion of News Editor Christopher Fox Graham to managing editor.

Photo by Saar Ingelbert
Graham first worked for Larson Newspapers as a copy editor from 2004 to 2008 and was named Editorial Person of the Year in 2004. During his tenure, he wrote more than 100 Sedona Underground columns featuring profiles of artists and performers around Sedona.

Graham returned as assistant news editor in October 2009. He was promoted to assistant managing editor in April 2010 and again promoted to news editor in April 2013 ....  Click here for the full story.

He can be contacted at editor@larsonnewspapers.com.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sedona Slam and FlagSlam at the National Poetry Slam: Bouts


Day 1, Tues. Aug. 13 Bout 11, 9 p.m. Cambridge College
Flagstaff, AZ Flagslam Christopher Fox Graham Jackson Morris Vincent Vega Austin Reeves Gabbi Jue
Lowell, MA (Mill City Slam) Mill City Slam Princess Chan Nathan Comstock Bobby Crawford Meagan Ford Adam Stone
New York, NY Nuyorican Nuyorican (NYC) Tre G (champ) Tonya Simone Ingram Mikumari Caiyhe
Toronto, Canada (Cytopoetics) Toronto Poetry Slam Optimus Rhyme Philosofly IF Kliggy David Delisca
Day 2, Wed. Aug. 14 Bout 15, 7 p.m. Cantab Upstairs
Sedona, AZ Sedona Poetry Slam Ryan Brown (champ) Verbal Kensington Frank O'Brien Josh Wiss Valence
Colombus, OH, (Writers Block) Writer's Block Gina Blaurock (champ) Vernell Bristow Louise Robertson Alexis Rueal Mitchell
Chicago, IL, (Lethal Poetry) Lethal Poetry (Words That Kill) Gregory GrumpyCat Pickett (champ) Adrienne Sunshine Nadeau Mojdeh Stoakley Amelia García Kamaya Thompson
Chicago, IL (Mental Graffiti) Mental Graffiti Eric Sirota (champ) Amy David Stephanie Lane Sutton, Billy Tuggle Fatimah Asghar
Day 3, Thurs. Aug. 15 Bout 28, 7 p.m. Johnny D's
Flagstaff, AZ Flagslam Christopher Fox Graham Jackson Morris Vincent Vega Austin Reeves Gabbi Jue
Spokane, WA (The A Club) Spokane Slam - Broken Mic Lauren Gilmore Kurt Olson Chris Cook Mark Anderson Jazlyn Jacobs
Suffern, NY Suffern Slam Society *NEW (Taiji Kung Fu) Rachel Therres Holden Contreras Kayla Volpe Bryan Roessel Greg Bassell
Riverton, UT Coffee Shop Poetry Slam (Wasatch Wordsmiths) Gray Brian Thomas (champ) JoKyR Adam Love Tami Porter-Jones DeAnn Emett
Day 3, Thurs. Aug. 15 Bout 36, 9 p.m. Davis Square
Sedona, AZ Sedona Poetry Slam Ryan Brown (champ) Verbal Kensington Frank O'Brien Josh Wiss Valence
Cleveland, OH Lake Effect Poetry (Frmly: Dragons Inc) AKeemjamal Rollins (champ) Arianna Cheree Caira Lee Christine Howey
Phoenix, AZ Lawn Gnome Poetry Slam (Golden Gnome) Joy Young Rowie Shebala Lauren Perry The Klute
Salt Lake City, UT Salt City Slam Jesse Parent (champ) Willy Palomo Benjamin Barker RJ Walker David Alberti

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"She Holds a Dragon in Her Spine," by Christopher Fox Graham


she holds a dragon in her spine
made of steel and mint juleps
curled up kundalini in her hips
she rocks to the beat
in a to and fro touch and go
shaking the room to its foundation

she breaks beats like bread
"take, eat of this my body," she says
her blood is busy though
snap kicking extremities to their exasperated edges
like the last great explorer discovering a New World over the horizon
where limbs meet limits
and bones bend time and space
she's a gravity well
drawing the eyes of everyone into her orbit
like falling satellites
burning brilliance in her exosphere
yet unable to touch her surface
without being crushed by the pressure
but if she holds you close like a love letter
just about be cast in the fireplace
presses her fingerprints into paper skin like an undiscovered crime scene
your lips ache to be solved by her detective tongue
until your law and order lifestyle
begs for her anarchy to throw a brick through
your thousand blind windows

she fucks your shit up
like a pirate ship sailing into port
on Take Your Daughter To Work Day

when she grabs you and says “kiss me”
hold onto her like you’re bull riding
on a tight rope
on fire
you’re going to experience some turbulence
and if oxygen drops in the overhead compartments
don't bother gasping for air
grab a sharpie and start writing your name on your body parts
so rescuers can reassemble you after impact
don't expect an open-casket funeral when she’s done with you
she’ll leave you splattered on the sidewalk
from a car bomb MacGyvered from the teeth of broken lovers
and the bones of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
that she uses like toothpicks
because when the end of the world came
she said, “Is that all you got?”
The world's been ending since it started
every time some new gods come along to rename it
and give it their own spin
she just laughs and says
“Fenrir fetches my newspapers”
“the Seven-Headed Beast is my alarm clock”
“who wakes me at 6:66 a.m.”

she's the philosopher of the dance floor
but you can't stop her beat
her hips will just keep dancing
come your Big Crunch flashfire or your intergalactic entropy big freeze

the Big Bang began the beat
and now it's so deep in her bones
her DNA splices in rhythm
A-T-C-C-
G-A-T-T-
T-C-G-G-
C-G-A-A-
stretching into infinity
or until you're so old,
your bones refuse to move
disassembling into their composite atoms she swallows like an anteater to fuel her fire
and thump the universe into hip-hop heartbeat
ba dum dum bang
ba dum dum bang

can you feel it?
it sounds like god tapping her temple
or the rain
or the rapping talons of the dragon in her spine, asking to come inside
and snuggle alongside you
now, open the damn door

"Marine Fossils on Mount Everest," by Christopher Fox Graham

the phone rings
it's her
lying in bed
unable to move
it's either call me
or cut herself again

I am naked words
over a phone line
trying to hold her
but this tunnel
doesn't have light at the end
exit, oncoming train or otherwise

so I talk about Mount Everest

she says she doesn't want to about
mountaineers conquering their fears
besides, the only way off
is to fall or freeze
and she's fallen so far
that the world is cold to the touch already

I say I want to talk about Everest
now, hidden on its slopes …

she says she doesn't want to hear about Shangri-La
a place where dreams come true
if we just let go
of what ties us to the material world
there's no secret entrance to open
with prayer and password

I want to talk about Everest

she says she doesn't want to hear about yeti
how we adapt to our environment
become creatures who can survive anywhere
given circumstance and intention

I say "stop"
I want to talk about Everest
up there, there's no room for metaphor
now, hidden on its slopes
beneath the snow and limestone
under the feet of mountaineers
the tracks of yeti
and the temples of Shangri-La
sandwiched between the stones
are the tiny tombs
of billions of marines animals
despite the claims of creationists
that the gods did it in Noah's drunken haze
or atheists planted them
as if that's all they needed to clinch the contest

there are billions of marine fossils
creatures who fell so deep
swallowed in the muck and mud unmourned
but they were patient
and in millions of years
waited for colliding continents
to shove themselves
colliding like struggling elk
shoving each one higher
until those fossils reached air
higher and higher
until those fossils felt snow
higher and higher
until those fossils scraped the sky
and could gaze across the curve of the Earth
and see it was just a marble floating
like they once did in the sea of space

it takes patience to see the beauty of the world
the wait's not always easy
rainstorms and tectonic shifts
can waylay the best laid plans of mice and men
you don't want to fade away
you ask what the point of life is:
to leave an imprint
a legacy
make a dent in the world
so all your years are worth the time you put in
hold fast,
don't be in a hurry to leave
it takes time to find the right place
the perfect soil to last forever
live like you're already priceless

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Kal-El's Lament" by Christopher Fox Graham

Written while listening to Nick Giello perform a set at Reds


I didn't ask to come here
it was this or death
my parents – my real parents
sent me when everything they knew
was doomed to collapse on itself

this country is unfamiliar
though I've seen so much of it
all I have of home are the recordings of my father
stoic and overbearing
telling from his tomb how to behave
"you must be a beacon
a ray of hope
a savior,
a super man
to these new people"

my mother is a memory
an image and a glimmer
her voice I've recreated
a hundred thousand times
with different timbre and tone
but it never sounds right
never sincere
and always in English
a language I knew she never spoke
I want to hear my native tongue
echoing off the crystal walls
or in the busy streets of cities
I want to see the skies again
feel the sun rising red on the horizon
be a boy
an ordinary boy
who climbs trees and falls from them
with bruises and cuts to prove it
who learns to fear the sight of his own blood
or broken bones

it's hard to be a man
when you've never learned to survive the pain
of growing up

The secret of silence is
if you say nothing
people assume the worst

only in solitude
can I scream out
"fuck this place
and these people"

but I've got nowhere to go
no home, no country
and no one understands
not my boss
not the people I help

my girlfriend thinks I'm someone else
she sees another face
calls me by another name
I can't tell her I only feel warm
standing in snow with no one
around for hundreds of miles
only there can I cry
be the boy I never was
instead of this man they think I am

she has her career
the news stories she chases
she's in love with another man
but never says so
she wants a man who isn't real
who lies to the world about who he is
when she could have me, right here
"we're not that different," I tell her
just cosmetic
different clothes, hair and glasses
but she doesn't see it
he's heroic and I'm just a small town boy

These people want so much from me
these weak, small creatures
who don't stand up for themselves
now that they have me
"why can't you fix this"
"prevent that?"
"why did he live
and my mother die?"
I'm just one man
I can't be everywhere
I have a life, too
I'm not here out of choice
I'm no civil servant – this is my free time
and it's not easy
I rescue you helpless children
you blind kittens
you insects
not because you deserve it
but because I'm not cruel
but I bite my tongue
swallow my pride

they call out for who they want
not who I am
"save us, save us, Superman," they shout
but my name is Kal-El
and this place,
this Earth
is not my home

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"I Wish My Pride Was More Malleable," by Christopher Fox Graham


I wish my pride was more malleable
so I could remember the taste of you
but "forgive" is a seven-letter word
neither of us can say
without swallowing back into our chest
to burn deep into our spleens

to sleep
I have replaced your two arms
with two glasses of whiskey
so I don't spend the hours between midnight and daybreak
calculating how my 72¾-inch doorframe
can so perfectly divide us
Korean Peninsula-style
into two halves
sharing the same language and history
but without armistice or peace treaty
to settle the civil war
we both claim the other started
we are starfish:
all fingers and mouths but no ears

I kissed her because she was young and curious
and most importantly, wasn't you
but as her cheeks melted into my hands
she became comparison, afterimage, contrast
the joy of first kiss became science experiment
an astronaut's expedition to a new Earth
"can we survive here, like home?
will the atmosphere adapt to us
or we to it?
will our grandchildren bury us here
or will we bury each other?"

you were the home left behind
the hometown of my eventual obituary
linked to my biography the way
Lee, Marc Antony and Rommel are inseparable
from Appomattox, Actium and El Alamein

You earthquake-forest fire-kaleidoscope wrecking ball:
I understand why warzone survivors stand
in the wreckage of their homes
photographed stone-faced:
there's nothing left to mourn
when one's home isn't still here
just cremated into rubble and ash
it looks fixable,
but it's not
the way the dead, without gunshot wounds,
should spring back to life
after rebooting the hardware because we will it

but anatomy and history and car accidents
are one-way streets
sins we cannot unsay
we've collided at full speed
wreckage strewn across this bedroom
photographs and knickknacks
tagged and noted by the forensic investigators
to chart them back to the moment of impact
not a last kiss,
but the words, "I think you should leave"
spilling from these lips
without the addendum:
"but return tomorrow"
or "when time and reason softens your illogic
and you can remember you are meant
to be the better one of us"

but my unbending pride
will doom me to death by train impact
rather than move out of the way
and my last words
instead of the profundity of poets
with pithy statements
of time's brevity
or the beauty of life strung through mediocre moments
into something grand and glorious
or dying haiku masters in the bamboo forests
waiting for the end to suck the life from their lungs
grown ancient in the pursuit of shorter phrasing
will be something asinine
a gurgle of gibberish
a profane declaration

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team: Verbal Kensington, Frank O'Brien, Josh Wiss, Valence and Ryan Brown

2013 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team: from left, Verbal Kensington, Frank O'Brien, Josh Wiss, Valence and Ryan Brown

Sedona Grand Poetry Slam, held Saturday, June 1, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, Sedona, ending the 2012-13 National Poetry Slam Season, hosted by Sedona Slammaster Christopher Fox Graham

Round 1
Draw based on points accumulated over the 2012-13 slam season

Sorbet: Christopher Fox Graham, seven-time member of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team

Calibration: Zachary Bryant Hansen, of Flagstaff

Calibration: Jackson Morris, two-time member of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team

Taylor Hayes, of Phoenix, 21.7 (after -1.0 time penalty), 3:27, -7.2 under, 10th place
Gary Every, of Sedona, 23.5, 2:43, -5.4 under, 9th place
Verbal Kensington, of Flagstaff, 27.0, 3:01, -1.9 under, 4th place
Ashley Swazey, of Flagstaff, 25.3, 1:41, -3.6 under, 8th place
Josh Floyd, of Flagstaff, 26.7, 2:03, -2.2 under, tie 5th place
Valence, of Phoenix, 26.3, (after -0.5 time penalty), 3:13, -2.6 under, 7th place
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 28.0, 2:38, -0.9 under, 3rd place
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 26.7, 2:41, -2.2 under, tie 5th place
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 28.9 (with one 10.0), highest score of the round, 2:57, 1st place
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 28.1, 1:52, -0.8 under, 2nd place

Sorbet: The Klute, eight-time member of the Mesa and Phoenix National Poetry Slam Teams

Intermission

Sorbet: Jackson Morris, two-time member of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team

Round 2
Reverse Order

Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 27.1, 55.2, 1:49, -1.4 under, 3rd place
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 26.9, 55.8, 2:54, -0.8 under, 2nd place
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 25.5, 52.2, 2:50, -4.4 under, 8th place
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 26.5, 54.5, 2:21, -2.1 under, 4th place
Valence, of Phoenix, 28.1, 54.4, 2:24, -2.2 under, 5th place
Josh Floyd, of Flagstaff, 27.2, 53.9, 2:04, -2.7 under, 6th place
Ashley Swazey, of Flagstaff, 28.3, 53.6, 2:44, -3.0 under, 7th place
Verbal Kensington, of Flagstaff, 29.6 (with two 10.0s), highest score of the round; highest score of the night, 56.6, 1:58, 1st place
Gary Every, of Sedona, 23.3, (after -4.0 time penalty), 46.8, 4:26, -9.8 under, 10th place
Taylor Hayes, of Phoenix, 26.8, 48.5, 2:22, -8.1 under, 9th place

Sorbet: Christopher Fox Graham, seven-time member of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team

Sorbet: The Klute, eight-time member of the Mesa and Phoenix National Poetry Slam Teams


Round 3
High to Low

Verbal Kensington, of Flagstaff, 27.0, 83.6, 1:43, tie 1st place
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 27.8, 83.6, 2:34, tie 1st place
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 28.2, 83.4, 1:42, -0.2 under, 3rd place
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 27.9, 82.4, 1:57, -1.2 under, 5th place
Valence, of Phoenix, 28.1, 82.5, 3:08, -1.1 under, 4th place
Josh Floyd, of Flagstaff, 28.0 (with one 10.0), 81.9, 2:06, -1.7 under, 7th place
Ashley Swazey, of Flagstaff, 28.6 (with one 10.0), 82.2, 2:56, -1.4 under, 6th place
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 27.1 (after -1.5 time penalty), 79.3, 3:30, -4.3 under, 8th place
Taylor Hayes, of Phoenix, 28. 9 (with one 10.0), highest score of the round,77.4, 1:58, -6.2 under, 9th place
Gary Every, of Sedona, 24.3 (after -2.5 time penalty), 71.1, 3:59, -12.5 under, 10th place

Sorbet: Christopher Fox Graham, seven-time member of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team

Haiku Death Match
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 4 votes - Verbal Kensington, of Flagstaff, 1 vote

Final Scores
2013 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team:
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 83.6 +Haiku Death Match, 1st place
Verbal Kensington, of Flagstaff, 83.6, 2nd place
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 83.4, 3rd place
Valence, of Phoenix, 82.5, 4th place
Alternate:
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 82.4, 5th place

Ashley Swazey, of Flagstaff, 82:2, 6th place
Josh Floyd, of Flagstaff, 81.9, 7th place
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 79.3, 8th place
Taylor Hayes, of Phoenix, 77.4, 9th place
Gary Every, of Sedona, 71.1, 10th place

Scorekeeper: Azami

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The 2013 Sedona Poetry Grand Slam is coming Saturday, June 1

The 2013 Sedona Poetry Grand Slam is coming Saturday, June 1

The biggest, most energetic poetry event to hit Northern Arizona is coming to the Mary D. Fisher Theatre at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 1: the 2013 Sedona Poetry Grand Slam.



The top 12 slam poets from Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff and Phoenix will compete in three rounds in front five judges randomly selected from the audience who assign numerical value to individual performances.

At the end of the night, the top four poets will represent Sedona at the weeklong National Poetry Slam in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., in August. There, Sedona’s four representatives and an alternate will compete against more than 350 of the best performance poets from the United States and Canada. At nationals, poets perform both individual and group poems, creating complex, dynamic performances.
Sedona sent its first slam team to the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., last year.

For the last eight months, poets from all over Arizona have been competing in Sedona, earning points for the Sedona Poetry Grand Slam. Only the top 12 of the nearly 50 competitors made the cut for this invitation-only contest.

Poetry slam is unlike any other poetry event you’ve ever seen. Slam poetry isn’t confusing, enigmatic and esoteric like in a college literature class with rhyme and meter, but an energetic blend of spoken word, theater and performance art.

In each three-minute performance of their original work, poets aim to make audiences laugh, cheer, cry or get chills down their spines. The performers are not permitted to use props, costumes or musical accompaniment, relying instead on their own words and inflections.

Poems range from explosively humorous to deeply personal to wryly political, with styles from hip-hop to narrative storytelling. All types of poetry are welcome. Audience reaction is just as important to a high score as the poetry itself, so the crowd is encouraged to not remain silent, but cheer, boo and engage with the poets’ on stage.

The Sedona Poetry Grand Slam competitors:
• Joshua Wiss’ infectious enthusiasm for life is evident in his energetic performances. A graduate of Northern Arizona University with a degree in creative writing, Wiss was a member of the 2012 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team, performed at every Sedona Poetry Slam this season and is currently ranked No. 1.

• Ryan Brown is the former slammaster of the FlagSlam Poetry Slam and a member of the 2009 team which advanced the NPS semi-finals. Brown was member of the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 national teams before earning degree in English from NAU in 2012.

• Evan Dissinger is one of the preeminent voices in the Flagstaff poetry scene and a member of the 2012 Sedona team. A skateboard rat in Sedona and Flagstaff, Dissinger is one of the most sincere poets in Arizona with a knack for making conventional experiences sublime.

• A poet’s poet, Frank O’Brien writes with a profound simplicity. O’Brien won the 2008 and 2009 Flagstaff Grand Slams, and competed for Flagstaff at three national poetry slams from 2008 to 2010 and for Sedona in 2012.

• A film student at NAU, Josh Floyd is a passionate performer making his first play for the Sedona slam team.

• Tyler Sirvinskas, aka Valence, was a member of the 2011 Flagstaff National Poetry Slam team and Grand Slam Champion of the 2012 Sedona Slam Team.

• Ashley Swazey is a photographer and poet with a background as a speech and debate competitor and coach at a Glendale Community College.

• Author and poet Gary Every is one of Sedona’s most prolific writers, who has published more than 1,000 poems, short stories and articles in newspapers, journals, anthologies and six of his own books.

• Taylor Hayes is a mathematician and poet whose scientific mind finds unique ways to express scientific and social truisms the through artistic medium of poetry.

• Verbal Kensington is the founder and creative director of Necessary Poetry, a poetry collective based in Flagstaff.

• Nodalone, aka Shaun Srivastava, is a two-time member of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team who currently competes in the Las Vegas poetry slam scene.

• The Klute, aka Bernard Schober, competed at the National Poetry Slam six times, for the Mesa Slam Team in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006, and the Phoenix Slam Slam Team in 2008 and 2009, 2010 and 2012. He has led two of those teams to the NPS semi-final stage, ranking him among the best of the best nationwide. He was also the Mesa Grand Slam champion in 2005 and 2010.

• Three poets from the Phoenix slam scene – Lauren Perry, Jeremiah Blue and Joy Young – are also eligible for the Sedona Slam Team, pending the results of the Phoenix Grand Slam later in May.

Audience members are encouraged to support their favorite poets from over the season.

The Sedona Poetry Grand Slam will be hosted by Sedona poet and slammaster Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at six National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2012 and recently won the 2013 Flagstaff Grand Slam.

The opening calibration poems will be performed members of the Flagstaff and Phoenix National Poetry Slam teams.

For more information about the slam, contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com.

Founded in Chicago in 1984 by Marc Smith, a former construction worker, poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Tickets are $15, available online at studiolivesedona.com. Proceeds help fund the team’s trip to Boston. Additional donations will gladly be accepted.

The 2013 slam season and the grand slam is cosponsored by the Sedona Performing Arts Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The Mary D. Fisher Theatre is located at 2030 W. SR 89A, near Coffee Pot Drive in West Sedona. For more information, call (928) 282-2688. For videos from past slams and updates about the grand slam, visit foxthepoet.blogspot.com.


Hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on six FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012