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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Celebrate Canada Day at Posse Grounds in Sedona on Thursday, July 1

Celebrate Canadian culture and heritage with a potluck and barbecue at Posse Grounds Park on Canada Day, Thursday, July 1, from 5 to 8 p.m.

All Canadian-born Americans, Canadian expatriates, Canadian tourists, and friends and family in the Verde Valley are invited to participate. Everyone is welcome.

This is an outdoor family event with horseshoes, games and fun for everyone.

People are encouraged to bring things to share, including sports equipment, musical instruments, or a family pack of Timbits. Poutine is always welcome as well.

Due to Sedona’s liquor ordinance, this is an alcohol-free event, so don’t bring any 2-4s of Labatt. However, pop will be provided.

There will be a costume contest with prizes for the best-dressed Canadian clichés. Make sure to dig through your closet for your favorite hockey jerseys, lumberjack plaid, Canadian tuxedos and toques.

The organizers can’t wait to see everyone “oot” there, “eh?”

For more information, call Azami Ishihara at 517-1400.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Learn to write a press release that will publish

For people working in the arts, marketing, public relations or with nonprofit organizations, publicity is everything.

To help, the Sedona Visual Artists’ Coalition presents “The Art of Writing a Press Release,” a workshop taught by newspaper editor Christopher Fox Graham, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 26.

The fee is $10 for Sedona Visual Artists’ Coalition members, $15 for the general public. The workshop takes place at Keep Sedona Beautiful, 360 Brewer Road, Sedona.

Workshops taught by public relations professionals may focus on writing a press release, but as a professional newspaper editor, Graham approaches the topic from the other angle — representing the media professionals responsible for choosing which press releases to publish and where to place them in their publications.

Drafting an effective press release may seem an impossible skill to master. Press releases often lack key information, such as location, dates, costs or contact information. Others fail to provide sufficient background to be considered effective by the media outlets and news organizations that receive them.

Creating an effective, informative, yet brief and easy-to-read press release is often more art than skill. A good press release provides succinct details to inform newspaper or magazine readers, website users and radio listeners about news events, offering just enough information to pique readers’ interest in the topic without boring them.

Using real-world examples, Graham will demonstrate the differences between good and bad press releases; how to transform a bad release into a great one; what media professionals look for; mistakes that will get your press release thrown out and how to avoid them; how to write an eye-catching and informative press release; and how to deal with members of the media.

The workshop is designed for artists and musicians trying to promote their work, public relations and marketing professionals, nonprofit organizers and business owners.

Graham is currently assistant managing editor of Larson Newspapers, which publishes the Sedona Red Rock News, The Camp Verde Journal and the Cottonwood Journal Extra. His duties include receiving, prioritizing and editing press releases and assigning them to pages for publication.

Graham earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on literature and linguistics and a minor in history from Arizona State University.

He has worked as senior copy editor for The State Press at ASU, copy editor for Larson Newspapers’ three publications, managing editor for Kudos and a private media consultant.

Graham is also a writer and performance poet. Over the last 10 years, he has toured and competed worldwide in poetry slams, a competitive art form that is focused as much on how the language is presented as on the content itself.

Workshop seating is limited. To reserve a seat, send a check for the correct amount to Jerry Buley, 659 Navahopi Road, Sedona, AZ, 86336.

For more information, Buley can be reached at 282-5499.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Where is Azami?

I love the Internet. I can track Azami's flight. She's somewhere over Joshua Tree, Calif., right now.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sedona Summer Poetry Slam this Saturday, June 12 at Studio Live

A reminder about the Sedona Summer Poetry Slam, starting at 7:30 p.m., this Saturday, June 12, at Studio Live. Hosted by me, featuring The Klute, a hilarious political poet from Mesa.

Tickets are cheaper this time around, only $5 if you order online at www.studiolivesedona.com

It's Sedona in June. You know there's nothing better than enjoying some poetry to take your mind off the heat.

Details: http://www.studiolivesedona.com/venue/calendar.html?event_id=238
Direct link for tickets: http://www.studiolivesedona.com/our-store/product-41.html

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Dream Too Much

I dream too much
hold slumber too late into the day
imagine too sincerely
that my dayvisions and night dreams
are more real than the tactile touch of skin on surface
in them, she moves with purpose
presses lips to soul
and swallows me in language
dreams, then, have meaning
and, I eagerly swallow them all

I find reason on weekdays
to labor to exhaustion
sleep as an infantryman in a foxhole
beneath the bombardment of career
so that when weekends bring their liberations
I can’t bear to rise until day is half done
on those days I can rewake and renap a dozen times
revisit her in new theatres
prior to the weight of the sunlight
pulling me from her, heavy in the gravity

before the last rise
when wherewithal is still foreign to my consciousness
I speak to her all the things I wish to say
if she were here
she hushes my lips with fingertips
strips off our clothes
and presses skin to skin to hold me
until we both open
two halves of a wound healing together

we breathe twice as deep
and hearts find each other
cleave arteries and veins into freshly spun spaghetti
and become Siamese twins of beating muscle
born from different mothers

I would hold there for days
if breezes and the spinning world
wouldn’t earthquake away

if catastrophe evicts me from flesh too soon
may some tornado lift me in Oz-brand ferocity
back to her open arms
and octopus rib cage,
pull me in close
bite spleen into lemon spleen
liver into apricot liver
pull hearts through aortas like handkerchief magic tricks
and swirl us into one shade of Play-doh
pliable for the ethereal children
who will next shape our formlessness

Get tickets now for Sedona's poetry slam on June 12

Top Arizona slam poet
headlines Sedona Summer Poetry Slam
on Saturday, June 12


The Sedona Summer Poetry Slam will explode at Studio Live at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 12, presenting three rounds of poetic competition as poets battle for pride and $100.

Between rounds, the audience will be entertained with a feature performance by the Klute, one of the country’s best slam poets and an Arizona artistic treasure.

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. 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.

In an era when most artists and poets shy away from confronting politics, the Klute stands apart.

He has earned a reputation for in-your-face political commentary and over-the-top humor targeting Neo-Conservative politicians, crass laissez-faire commercialism and Goth subculture.

Originally from south Florida, The Klute writes almost exclusively in free verse, making his poetry conversational and relevant to even those who see poetry as something to avoid.

Standing more than 6 feet tall and always bedecked in a black trench coat, the Klute is hard to miss. When poetry escapes his lips at full blast, he’s hard not to hear.

The Klute has released three poetry chapbooks, "Escape Velocity," "Look at What America Has Done to Me" and "My American Journey," which prompted a cease and desist order from the attorneys of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“Despite the heat, [The Klute] wears a black trench coat almost everywhere he goes and if the setting permits, he’ll blast through enough slanderous commentary to make Andrew Dice Clay blush,” according to Phoenix 944 Magazine. “Today, his addiction for getting in front of the microphone and spitting out everything from a Dick Cheney haiku to a long-winded prose on race car driving to the late Hunter S. Thompson is as strong as his love for vodka and absinthe. If anyone’s seen ‘The Klute’ in action, they’d know it. If they haven’t, they must.”

Expected to compete are Sedona Red Rock High School alumni Champion Max Boehm-Reifenkugel and Liana O’Boyle, several members of the FlagSlam Poetry Team, Kingman slam poet Mikel Weisser, Mesa Slam Team members Lauren Perry, Bill Campana, Tristan Marshall and Brit Shostak, Sedona poet Randy Warren.
and Tucson poets David "Doc" Luben and Mickey Randleman.

All poets are welcome to compete.

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

The poets will be judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam. The top poet at the end of the night wins $100.

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

The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at four National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2006. He has hosted and competed in poetry slams and open mics in Sedona since 2004.

Graham has performed in 38 states, Toronto, Dublin, Ireland, and London, and wrote the now infamous “Peach” poem.

Founded in Chicago by construction worker and poet Marc “So What?” Smith in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe. Featuring almost 80 four-poet teams, the 21st annual National Poetry Slam takes place in Minneapolis, Minn., in August.

For more information or to register, call Graham at 928-517-1400 or e-mail to foxthepoet@yahoo.com.

Tickets are $5 online or $10 at the door.

Home of the Sedona Performers Guild nonprofit, Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, visit www.studiolivesedona.com.

See video from previous poetry slams at www.YouTube.com/FoxThePoet.

For more information about the 2010 National Poetry Slam, visit www.poetryslam.com.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spider in My Bathtub Poem

uncamouflaged at the basin of the bathtub
a spider deprived of two legs waits
it clamors along the curve
unable to climb more than an inch above the plain
no clawed foot can find purchase in the porcelain
the spider has circled he edge seven times
still searching for a changing circumference

I imagine it stumbled in the open window
explored the sill hunting moth or mosquito
then lost its grip in the wood
tumbled airborne then slid to a stop
and now finds itself in an unfamiliar prison

deciding its destiny,
I could flush it down the tub drain,
crush it with shoe or paper
cast it aside with the refuse
pick it up and swirl it down into the toilet
a hundred types of sadistic torments
or ignore its plight, but my roommate is terrified of spiders
instead, I a grab a cerulean cup
hold it upside down and chase the spider in the cage
it skirts around the tub, oblivious to my shadow,
fleeing from tapping fingers
the blue maw closes over
and the spider flees out the crevasse a dozen times
until I catch it on the flat wall
flip wrist and toss the spider to the bottom

trading white porcelain for blue plastic,
the spider appears more distraught,
as if it had fallen on worse times
a smaller cell with less hope
I tip it into the light
examine the details of the injuries
second leg left,
third leg right,
both severed at the hilt
where they lie buried
with what foe they rest
I can only conjecture
did it lose one in a climactic battle with a rival
sacrifice one to escape a songbird hunter
lose them both in the tragedy of a fallen branch
break one in the strain to escape from the tub
is one still clinging to the window sill
unable to hold its master safe from gravity

we march to the front door
and in the porchlight,
take one last look at each other
before I invert the cup above the vines
and it tumbles out,
again falling airborne
rolls off leaf and disappears into darkness

have I doomed some future beetle
sentenced a moth to die
in the jaws of a handicapped predator
or fed some larger spider hunting weakened prey
supplied a buffet to ants who’ll find it starving in the morning
where was its tomb to be before I found it
what destiny have I altered by glancing in the tub
while wondering what poem to write tonight

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Darth Cheney Haiku

How did Dick Cheney
fire Rumsfeld? "You have failed
me for the last time"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lost Lighter Haiku

You should quit smoking
to save hours not looking
for your lost lighters

She Begs for Poetry

from 3,000 miles away
she begs for poetry
— words swallowed deep in heavy stanzas
articulating how her absent arms
strip me bare despite cotton and self-delusion
— puns toying on lips of pop culture references
she doesn’t grasp without footnotes
— confessions flaying flesh from my bones
so she can see the man beneath this stone exterior
has a heartbeat instead of a CPU

she begs for poetry
but those written for previous lovers sound unfaithful
infidelity captured in verse
with other couples, a wayward glance ignites a riot
because the surface is what matters
with other couples, a night enveloped in strangers hips
instigates marital estrangement
because loins encapsulate intentions
for us, looks and skins are immaterial matters
it’s the words that carry weight,
the emancipation of verse from darkness
pulling verbs and nouns from thin air
to best articulate the rhythm of hearts caught in the moment
our wedding bands come in rhyming couplets

in pauses I can close my eyes and chart the road
GoogleEarth highway curves from my Arizona doorstep
over the interstates
past county gas stations
under Western skies
leap borders in migratory bird fashion
to find her hobo fingers grasping a payphone receiver
at the Civic Center in Prince George, British Columbia
where she hangs onto every syllable like scripture
remembers how the psalms of slam bring salvation

she is a pilgrim remembering home before the crusade
yearning for comforts of a familiar tongue
before the next day calls her to confront the infidels
whatever she believes them to be:
the civilized world armed beneath its new colonial flags
of corporate logos and AK-47s in the hands of children,
laissez-faire consumerism oblivious to strip mines and contaminated rivers,
or the suburban dream of white picket fences and police state insecurities,
— she plants trees to save the Earth one shovelful at a time
build a new world she wants to live in
painting the skies in banners of poetry
and I am an arrogant boy inflating his ego in this silly metaphor
when the truth is
she misses the home we’ve built here
she yearns to sleep in, beneath satin sheets
long after I have left for work
she aches for the shelter of my broken limbs
learning to trust in human touch
after so many years pushing it away
she craves to again tear me down to build me up
remanufacture me into a Lee Majors worth admiring
— and I’m certain I’ll have to explain who he is

she begs for poetry
anything my fingers have scribbled will do,
but I search for the poems I wrote to remember her
when I thought she left my chapters
before she returned for the sequel
with newly enhanced superpowers and a rebooted backstory

these words aren’t wholly mine,
they fluttered in anticipation of her arrival
so she’d know me as kindred
without having to try so hard
because I still mistake women’s advances
for an awkwardness to fill time
and stumble over my own intentions
without a screenplay to dictate the scenes
from “hello” to “please stay the night”

she begs for poetry
and I offer what I’m able
stretch my arms across this continent
fold our points together the way starships do
read poems that bring her back into my bed
when I would recite them before lights out
and we’d scoop stars by the shared spoonful
I give her the poems I have at my fingertips
until she returns to touch them with her own
I would cut open my brow again
and spill out poetry like a head wound
if it brought her home any faster
but patience is a virtue, they say
absence makes the heart grow fonder
all good things come to those who wait
and clichés pacify aching lovers
who quote them rather than go on killing sprees

she begs for poetry through my lips
I beg for her and the poems born on hers