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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Arizona will name a Poet Laureate: Let's nominate Phoenix poet Bill Campana

The state of Arizona will name a Poet Laureate in 2013. Let's make sure it's Bill Campana, a prolific poet, veteran slammer and everyone's favorite uncle.

I will be writing a nomination as a representative of the Sedona slam scene. Other slam poets have offered to do the same. Join us.

Why should Bill Campana be Arizona's Poet Laureate?

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.

His work has also been made into a short film:

A young lady visits a piercing parlor and gets more than she bargained for.

Directed by Matt Gismondi
Poem and Voiceover by Bill Campana
Starring David Tabor and Lauren Perry

Arizona Poet Laureate

The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, today launches the nomination process for the inaugural Arizona Poet Laureate.

At the start of the last legislative session, Arizona was one of only 8 states without a poet laureate. The Arts Commission and the Arizona literary community worked in close partnership with State Senator Al Melvin during the Fiftieth Legislature’s second regular session, to put forth a bill establishing a poet laureate post for the State of Arizona. On May 11, 2012, Governor Jan Brewer signed SB1348 into law, and October marks the beginning of the nomination, review and selection process.

Jaime Dempsey, Deputy Director of the Arts Commission, said of the process, “It is our hope that the appointed Arizona Poet Laureate will champion the art of American poetry, inspire an emerging generation of literary artists, and educate Arizonans about poets and authors who have influenced our state through creative literary expression.”
The bill specifies that the appointed poet laureate will serve a term of two years; will offer public readings throughout the year, in both urban and rural communities in various regions of the state; and will pursue a major literary project over the course of the appointment term.

The Arizona Poet Laureate will be provided with an annual honorarium of $2,500 to offset travel and so that he/she is able to actively serve the broadest constituency of Arizonans, who live, learn and work in urban, rural and suburban areas of the state. The honorarium will be disbursed from the Arizona Poet Laureate Fund, which consists of private monies donated by individuals, organizations or businesses – raised by the Arts Commission and its statewide literary partners.

Interested parties may nominate themselves or others for the position of Arizona Poet Laureate through a process managed by the Arizona commission on the Arts. The initial deadline for nominations is November 9, 2012. To review details and information regarding the nomination/application and selection process, visit

“We would like to recognize and thank Arizona Senator Al Melvin, who introduced the bill and shepherded it through the legislative process, and to our partners in arts advocacy, the Arizona Citizens for the Arts for helping to see this bill through to success,” said Bob Booker, Executive Director. 

Read the bill, here

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is an agency of the State of Arizona that supports a statewide arts network. The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports access to quality arts and arts education opportunities for all Arizona citizens; the development and retention of statewide jobs in the nonprofit arts, culture and education sectors; and increased economic impact in local communities through arts-based partnerships that develop tax and small business revenue.

For more information about the grants, services and programs of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, visit

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

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