Spring in Sedona begins Saturday, March 20, with a Poetry Slam, featuring five-time Mesa National Poetry Slam Team veteran Bill Campana.
Sedona's Studio Live hosts the slam starting at 7:30 p.m. and all poets are welcome to compete for the $100 grand prize. To compete in the slam, poets need at least three original poems, each three minutes long or shorter. No props, costumes or musical accompaniment are permitted. All types of poetry from sonnets to hip-hop are welcome.
Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona.
Before Campana blazed into the Mesa and Phoenix poetry scene in 1997, individuals would attend poetry readings and at the end of every dry, polished piece of mental origami, read with all the flair of a zoning law variance, those still awake in the audience would say "humph." Poets would get a smattering of courtesy applause, and everyone would go home feeling just a little more cultured than their neighbors who owned television sets.
Campana, however, knows that the only true way to respect culture is to break it into little tiny pieces. He came onto the poetry scene at full power, and suddenly the dry dusty notebooks of lesser poets got burned up in the shockwave.
Campana is the atom bomb that levels ivory towers. He got people excited enough about poetry to come back for more, and to see what would happen next. Soon, the audience was too big for the coffeehouse, a feat unprecedented since Socrates dared the baristas to make him a hemlock frappuchino.
Campana began writing poetry at the age of 17, quit at 22 because he realized that he had nothing to say. Twenty years later, he picked up where he left off, soon ran out of things to say again but has not stopped writing.
A member of five Mesa National Poetry Slam Teams, Campana has been to the semi-finals of the National Poetry Slam twice. He has hosted and featured across the Southwest, and continues to write at a feverish pace, always challenging fellow poets to better their craft on the page and the stage.
Campana takes elements of other art forms and applies them to his poetry. Although audiences can't hear the music, he insists it's in there in tributes to composition. Although audiences can't see the paintings and photographs they are there behind the words. Campana currently lives on the fine line that separates the page from the stage. From there he can reach people from both spectrums of modern poetry. Campana runs the weekly Sound Effects poetry open mic called in Phoenix.
Campana also recently released a compilation album, "The Hit List," that features 94 poems composed over the last 10 years of his performance career in Phoenix.
The slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at four National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2006.
Founded in Chicago in 1984, 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.
Tickets are $15, available at Studio Live or Golden Word Books, 3150 W. SR 89A.
Competing poets are free; slots are limited. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
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.