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 670,000 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.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How I became the fourth poet on FlagSlam's nationals team

So here's how it went down: The original FlagSlam team was Ryan Brown, Brian Towne, RahMah Mercy, Johnny P. and alternate Chris Harbster.

Harbster drops. Team still OK.

Johnny P. drops, but Frank O'Brien, who only recently moved to Seattle, took his slot. Team still OK.

I volunteer to work NPS as a venue manager, so I'm set to travel to St. Paul, Minn.

Brian and Ryan fly to St. Paul, Frank takes the Greyhound. I get to the Phoenix airport.

RahMah bails. Team is now a poet short with no backup. They can compete, but receive an automatic disqualification. I competed at FlagSlams in Flagstaff and earned points toward the Grand Slam, but not enough to compete. But I am the only FlagSlam poet in St. Paul with any points not on the team.

So I have a conundrum: Do I come to rescue of my home team in their hour of need by filling the slot, and hope to do as well as them despite have not practiced for NPS? The three poets have come all this way but would effectively be dead in the water with 2 DQs no matter how strong they are.

Or do I keep my word to NPS volunteer coordinator Jenn Parks and serve as the venue coordinator, thereby serving the whole Poetry Slam Inc. community?

I asked for a lot of advice, but after speaking with Steve Marsh, PSI's executive director, I received a green light to join FlagSlam - he said PSI would rather lose a venue manager than lose a team. A venue manager is a lot easier to replace than a team, he said.

I was really excited to be a volunteer this year. I had a lot of fun as a bout manager at NPS 2003 in Chicago and I would have enjoyed working the venues all four nights. If there was another poet who was eligible, I would have preferred them to fill the slot. But as it stands, it's either me or the other three members of the team came to St. Paul essentially to perform an open mic.

Thus, I am the fourth member of Team FlagSlam. We have a shot at semi-finals now because Brian, Ryan and Frank are all strong solo poets.

Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Bout 16 - Wild Tymes
(Albuquerque, NM)
(Flagstaff, AZ)
San Jose Poetry Slam
(San Jose, CA)
Team Clevel

Thursday, 9 p.m.
Bout 35 - Wild Tymes
(Flagstaff, AZ)
Life Sentence Slam
(Fairfield, CA)
Mental Graffitti
(Chicago, IL)
Tucson Ocotillo Slam
(Tucson, AZ)

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