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.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rowie Shebala wins the January Sedona Poetry Slam

Rowie Shebala won the second Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Jan. 7.
Rowie Shebala wins the second Sedona Poetry Slam of the 2011-12 National Poetry Slam Season.


Benediction: Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona
Round 1
Random Draw
Calibration:
Danielle Silver, of Sedona
Ellenelizabeth, of Sedona, 18.6
nodalone, of Flagstaff, 27.0
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 27.0
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 29.0
Gabbie Jue, of Winslow, 27.6
Kendra Shebala, of Flagstaff, 25.5
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 29.7
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 29.3, after 0.5 time penalty
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 29.2
Josh Goldberg, of Oak Creek Ranch School, 28.9
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood, 29.0
Christopher Harbster, , of Flagstaff, 29.0
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 30.0

Sorbet: Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff

Round 2
Reverse Order
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 29.4, 59.4
Christopher Harbster, of Flagstaff, 27.8, 56.8
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood, 28.8, 57.8
Josh Goldberg, of Oak Creek Ranch School, 27.6, 56.5
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 28.2, after 1.5 time penalty, 57.2
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 29.7, 59.0
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 28.7, after 1.0 time penalty, 58.4
Kendra Shebala, of Flagstaff, 27.4, 52.9
Gabbie Jue, of Winslow, 28.4, 56.0
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 28.7, after 1.0 time penalty, 57.7
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 30.0, 57.0
nodalone, of Flagstaff, 29.1, 56.1
Ellenelizabeth, of Sedona, 25.3, 43.9

Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, featured at the
Sedona Poetry Slam on Jan. 7.

Feature: Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff

Sorbet: Gary Bowers, of Phoenix

Round 3
High to Low (Top 7)
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 29.4, 88.8
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 29.5, 88.5
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 28.9, 87.3
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood, 29.1, 86.9
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 26.5, after 3.5 time penalty, 84.2
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 29.6, 86.8
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 29.8, 86.8

Final Scores
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 88.8
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott, 88.5
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 87.3
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood, 86.9
TIE: Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 86.8
TIE: Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 86.8
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 84.2


Christopher Harbster, of Flagstaff, 56.8
Josh Goldberg, of Oak Creek Ranch School, 56.5Kendra Shebala, of Flagstaff, 52.9
Gabbie Jue, of Winslow, 56.0
nodalone, of Flagstaff, 56.1Ellenelizabeth, of Sedona, 43.9

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Slamoff Point Standings
4 points
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff
The Klute, of Phoenix
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix
 3 points
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott
2 points
Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona
Christopher Harbster, of Flagstaff
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman
nodalone, of Flagstaff
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff
1 point
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood
Ellenelizabeth, of Sedona
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff
Gabbi Jue, of Flagstaff
Jack Egan, of Sedona
Jahnilli Akbar, of New York City
Josh Goldberg, of Oak Creek Ranch School
Kendra Kenj Shebala, of Flagstaff
Spencer Troth, of Flagstaff
Valence, of Flagstaff
 0.5 points
Danielle Silver, of Sedona
Gary Bowers, of Phoenix
Gary Every, of Sedona

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sedona Poetry Slam season's final list of features

2012 Sedona Poetry Slam Season
Upcoming features:
Saturday, February 18
Feature: Aaron Johnson, Phoenix, AZ

Saturday, March 10
Feature: Seth Walker, Austin, Texas

Saturday, April 7
Feature: Bill Campana, Phoenix, AZ

Saturday, May 5
Feature: Sean Patrick Mulroy, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Past features:
Saturday, December 3
Feature: Jahnilli Akbar, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Saturday, January 7
Feature: Ryan Brown, Flagstaff, AZ

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jahnilli Akbar, Sedona Poetry Slam 12-3-2011, teaser poem

Featured poet Jahnilli Akbar performs between the first and second rounds of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

(My camerawoman started the tape a few seconds too late, so the first few words are cut off. My apologies.)

New York City poet Jahnilli Akbar.
Jahnilli Akbar is a 22-year-old poet and activist, born in Chicago and raised in northern Mississippi. Currently he splits his time between Harlem and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Akbar’s poetry is best defined as an artistic mesh of alternative black, Semitic and queer life in America.

Akbar won the 2010 Rookie of the Year award at the Wade-Lewis Invitational, the second largest colligate slam in the country with more than 100 participants, held at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Akbar is also the recipient of the 2011 Fresh Fruit Festival Queer Poet of the Year Award. He is a known face on the underground New York City art scene, as part of a movement called the Bushwick Renaissance, and as a member of Ground- Floor Collective, a leftist, African diaspora-based, predominately lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer group of artists. The Ground-Floor Collective, the Brecht Forum & Malcolm X Grassroots Movement curates the annual Black August art show, a fundraiser for political prisoners abroad.

Many stages, venues and spaces have hosted Akbar’s poetry, including Nuyorican Poets’ Café, Bowery Poetry Club, Louder Arts, NYC Intangible Poetry Slam, SUNY New Paltz and the Brooklyn Museum, all in New York, the Seattle Poetry Slam, Chicago’s Mental Graffiti Slam and Wordplay Chicago.

In early November, Akbar published his first book, “Chronicles of a Contemporary Alternative American Negro,” and headed out on tour.

Ryan Brown performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

Ryan Brown performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011


Flagstaff poet Ryan Brown has attended three National Poetry Slam
competitions in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as a member of the FlagSlam team,
getting as far as the semi-finals round in 2009.
Ryan Brown is a poet's poet in every sense of the word. The mountain town of Flagstaff, is known for a poetry slam scene where poets come together as a community, and  Brown has been at the center of the growth as the FlagSlam Poetry Slam's slammaster since 2008.

A slammaster is the administrative representative of a poetry slam scene and its de facto leader.

Brown has attended three National Poetry Slam competitions as a member of the FlagSlam team, getting as far as the semi-finals round in 2009. At the helm of Flagstaff's slam scene, Brown has brought in featured poets such as Andrea Gibson and Gypsee Yo to help reinvigorate the poetry community in a town now bursting with poetic flavor. After a three-month hiatus spent farming in Hawai'i at the tail end of 2010, Brown has shifted the FlagSlam's location to Sundara Boutique and Gallery, which is quickly becoming one of Flagstaff's best venues for performance art.

An English major at Northern Arizona University, Brown has been writing and performing poetry for over four years, collaborating often with poets such as Frank O'Brien, John Cartier, and Sedona's Jessica Guadarrama and Christopher Fox Graham. He writes with the future in mind, his poems often revolving around the intimacy of human relationships.

Due to graduate from NAU in 2012, Brown also cultivates obsessions with baseball, skateboarding, and coffee, spending most of his time at school or at work, living the life of a pedestrian in a town where every destination is reachable on foot. Keys, wallet, cell phone, pen, and notepad: The essential tools for this particular poet.

Valence performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 201

Valence performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011


Photo by Tara Graeber
Tyler Sirvinskas, aka Valence
Tyler Sirvinskas, aka Valence, is a poet among other things.
Valence has been a slam poet since 2010 and new to the format of slam, but not to the art of writing.
After living 14 years in Chicago, he has spent six years and
counting in Arizona.

Josh Wiss performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

Josh Wiss performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

Josh Wiss, Sedona National Poetry Slam Team, Sedona Poetry Slam, Studio Live

nodalone performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

nodalone performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011



Photo by Tara Graeber
Shaun Srivastava, aka nodalone, was a member
of the 2011 Flagslam National Poetry Slam Team.
Shaun Srivastava, aka nodalone, is a member of the 2011 Flagslam National Poetry Slam Team.

Originally from East Lansing, Michigan, nodalone moved to Flagstaff in 2008 to attend Northern Arizona University.

He will complete degrees in both exercise science and psychology in 2012, with plans to pursue a master’s degree in psychology.

While quietly writing poetry for many years, nodalone has only recently begun performing his spoken word at slams and various events throughout Arizona.

Preferring to use his platform to address current political, cultural, and social issues, the poet gives a performance that captures the power of the issue in a personal and passionate style.

The Klute performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

The Klute performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

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.

Photo by Jessica Mason-Paull
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.
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.”

Mikel Weisser performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

Mikel Weisser performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

Spencer Troth performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

Spencer Troth performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

Christopher "You Phonik" Harbster performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

Photo by Saar Ingelbert
Christopher "You Phonik" Harbster
Christopher "You Phonik" Harbster performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jack Egan performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

Jack Egan performs in the first round of the Sedona Poetry Slam on Dec. 3, 2011

Buy your tickets now for the Sedona Poetry Slam on Jan. 7

Sedona’s Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Jan. 7, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Flagstaff Slammaster Ryan Brown.


All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize.

The slam will the first of the 2011-12 season, expected to be more moving, more energetic and more intense because this year, poets will be competing for a slot in Sedona’s first National Poetry Slam Team.

After four years of collaborating with the Flagstaff and Phoenix metro area poetry slam scenes, the Sedona scene has developed the reputation and strength to muster its own team to send to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., in August. The eventual four-poet team 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.

Ryan Brown
Flagstaff poet Ryan Brown has attended three National Poetry Slam
competitions in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as a member of the FlagSlam team,
getting as far as the semi-finals round in 2009.
Ryan Brown is a poet's poet in every sense of the word. The mountain town of Flagstaff, is known for a poetry slam scene where poets come together as a community, and  Brown has been at the center of the growth as the FlagSlam Poetry Slam's slammaster since 2008.

A slammaster is the administrative representative of a poetry slam scene and its de facto leader.

Brown has attended three National Poetry Slam competitions as a member of the FlagSlam team, getting as far as the semi-finals round in 2009. At the helm of Flagstaff's slam scene, Brown has brought in featured poets such as Andrea Gibson and Gypsee Yo to help reinvigorate the poetry community in a town now bursting with poetic flavor. After a three-month hiatus spent farming in Hawai'i at the tail end of 2010, Brown has shifted the FlagSlam's location to Sundara Boutique and Gallery, which is quickly becoming one of Flagstaff's best venues for performance art.

An English major at Northern Arizona University, Brown has been writing and performing poetry for over four years, collaborating often with poets such as Frank O'Brien, John Cartier, and Sedona's Jessica Guadarrama and Christopher Fox Graham. He writes with the future in mind, his poems often revolving around the intimacy of human relationships.

Due to graduate from NAU in 2012, Brown also cultivates obsessions with baseball, skateboarding, and coffee, spending most of his time at school or at work, living the life of a pedestrian in a town where every destination is reachable on foot. Keys, wallet, cell phone, pen, and notepad: The essential tools for this particular poet.

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 are welcome.

Photo by Harley Deuce
The Dec. 3 slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox
Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff
team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.
The Jan. 7 slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between Dec. 3 and Saturday, May 5. Future slams will take place on Saturdays, Feb. 18, March 10, April 7 and May 5. Every poet earns 1 point for performing or hosting and 1/2 point for calibrating. First place earns 3 additional points, second place earns 2 and third place earns 1.

Based on points, the top 12 poets in May are eligible to compete for the four slots on the Sedona Poetry Slam Team, which will represent the community and Studio Live at the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C. All poets are eligible in the slamoff except those already confirmed members of or coaching another National Poetry Slam or College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational or Brave New Voices team. Poets can compete for multiple teams during a season and still be eligible to compete in the Sedona team.

What is Poetry Slam?
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.


Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona.
For more information, call (928) 282-2688 or visit http://studiolivesedona.com.