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, February 28, 2012

Jack Egan performs "Up" in the third round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011

Jack Egan performs "Up" in the third round of the Sedona Poetry Slam, 12-3-2011. Great poem, and with audience participation, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Seth Walker features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, March 10

Seth Walker features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, March 10

Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, March 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Texas poet Seth Walker and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

The slam will the fourth of the 2011-12 season, which has been more moving, more energetic and more intense because this year as poets compete 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 the reputation and strength to send its own team 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.

Seth Walker
Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, March 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Texas poet Seth Walker

Seth Walker is Houston, Texas’ premiere national poet and Grand Slam Champion of 2007. In 2007, Walker took second at the Texas Blue Bonnet State Competition. That November, he left Houston to follow his art and travel across the country to find it … he has not yet stopped.


Since then Walker has performed at nearly every major venue in the country including Da Poetry Lounge in Hollywood, Calif., The Green Mill in Chicago, and The Nuyorican Poets' Cafe in New York City. Along the way he won several noteworthy titles such as Slam Champion of the Utah State Arts Fair Poetry Slam in 2009, North Beast Indie Slam Champion -- the northeastern regional 2010 as well as as slamming most recently with the 2010 Austin Poetry Slam Team.

With Solomon Schneider, a multi-instrumentalist folk musician and other rotating national artists, this notorious “road dog” poet travels 10 to 11 months out of the year, dedicating his art to whomever he meets.


“Neobeat slam poet Seth Walker’s words were a perfect counterpoint to the message at hand. With lyrics that celebrated triumph of the spirit over the degradation of life circumstances, Walker engaged the audience and, hopefully, galvanized them to take up the cause even after the show was over,” wrote Melonie Magruder in The Malibu Times in Malibu, Calif.

Sedona Poetry Slam
Photo by Harley Deuce
The March 10 slam will be hosted by Graham, who
represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team
at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

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.

The March 10 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between Dec. 3 and Saturday, 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.

Future slams will take place on Saturday, April 7, featuring Mesa poet Bill Campana; and May 5, featuring Brooklyn, N.Y., poet Sean Patrick Mulroy.

For poetry slam standings, videos from past slams, and updates, visit foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

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.

Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 the day of the event, available at Golden Word Books and Music, 3150 W. SR 89A, and online at studiolivesedona.com.

Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, call (928) 282-2688.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shaun Srivastava wins the third Sedona Poetry Slam of the 2011-12 National Poetry Slam Season

Photo courtesy of Tara Graeber
Shaun Srivastava wins the third Sedona Poetry Slam of the 2011-12
National Poetry Slam Season.
Shaun Srivastava wins the third Sedona Poetry Slam of the 2011-12 National Poetry Slam Season.

Calibration: Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona, “Poetic Babysitting”

Round 1
Random Draw
Calibration:
Gary Every, of Sedona
The Klute, of Phoenix, 23.3, 22.3 after 1.0 time penalty, 3:28
Spensor Troth, of Flagstaff, 26.2, 25.2 after 1.0 time penalty, 3:25
Michelle Peterson, of Sedona, 20.2, 3:02
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix, 25.7, 2:45
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 24.7, 2:42
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 29.2, 3:02
Mary Elizabeth Skene, of Sedona, 25.3, 2:05
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 28.4, 2:26
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 25.8, 1:55
nodalone, of Flagstaff, 28.7, 2:40
Valence, of Flagstaff, 26.2, 2:46

Teaser: Aaron Johnson, of Phoenix

Round 2
Reverse Order
Valence, of Flagstaff, 23.8, 2:46, 50.0
nodalone, of Flagstaff, 27.5, 2:51, 56.2
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 28.8, 2:36, 53.8
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 24.6, 2:20, 53.0
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 24.5, 1:25, 53.7
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 26.5, 25.0 after 1.5 time penalty, 3:35, 49.7
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix, 27.3, 2:17, 53.0
Michelle Peterson, of Sedona, 25.6, 20.1 after 5.5 time penalty, 4:59, 40.3
Spensor Troth, of Flagstaff, 24.8, 3:07, 50.0
The Klute, of Phoenix, 29.5, 29.0 after 0.5 time penalty, 3:15, 51.3

Mary Elizabeth Skene, of Sedona, left the slam before round 2


Aaron Johnson, of Phoenix, was the feature poet at the Sedona Poetry
Slam on Feb. 18.
Feature: Aaron Johnson, of Phoenix

Sorbet: Sasha Anderson, of Flagstaff

Round 3
High to Low (Top 7)
nodalone, of Flagstaff, 28.7, 3:10, 84.9
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 26.8, 2:52, 80.6
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 29.2, 3:07, 82.9
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix, 27.8, 2:47, 80.8
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 28.4, 2:24, 81.4
The Klute, of Phoenix, 29.7, 1:33, 81.0
TIE: Valence, of Flagstaff, 27.3, 1:59, 77.3
TIE: Spensor Troth, of Flagstaff, 26.5, 2:42, 76.5

Final Scores
nodalone, of Flagstaff, 84.9

Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 82.9

Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 81.4

The Klute, of Phoenix, 81.0
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix, 80.8
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 80.6
Valence, of Flagstaff, 77.3
Spensor Troth, of Flagstaff, 76.5
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 49.7
Michelle Peterson, of Sedona, 40.3
Mary Elizabeth Skene, of Sedona, 25.3

Women of the World Poetry Slam qualifier
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix, 80.8
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 80.6
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff, 49.7
Michelle Peterson, of Sedona, 40.3
Mary Elizabeth Skene, of Sedona, 25.3

Scorekeeper: Alun Wile
Cameramwoman: Azami

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

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

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

>

Order your tickets now for Sedona Poetry Slam tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 18

Aaron Johnson features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Feb. 18
Order your tickets now to reserve the discount price of $7.

Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Feb. 18, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring longtime Phoenix poet Aaron Johnson and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $100 grand prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

The slam will the third of the 2011-12 season, which has been more moving, more energetic and more intense because this year as poets compete 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 the reputation and strength to send its own team 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.

Aaron Johnson
Aaron Johnson likes pinball machines, shortbread cookies, graphic novels, and skateboard competitions. However, Johnson is most likely to found at a poetry slam or rock show, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. As a young teen, he worked at Arby's. It was where he saw a lefthander chop off his thumb in a roast beef slicer. Being a lefty too, Aaron was permanently scarred for life and began writing and performing poetry.

Courtesy photo
Aaron Johnson likes pinball machines, shortbread cookies, graphic
novels, and skateboard competitions. However, Johnson is most
likely to found at a poetry slam or rock
show, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.
Johnson was the 2001 International Poetry Interpretation champion. From 2002 to 2005, he studied communication theory and English at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, participated and coached award-winning speech and debate team.

In 2004, he founded Boardwalk Open Mic and published "Irony Stinks," then "Watering the Poetry" chapbook in 2005. He also participated in his first the National Poetry Slam, held in Albuquerque, N.M., alongside Graham, Logan Phillips and Meghan Jones.

He was the 2006 Southwest Shootout Regional Slam director and represented Flagstaff at the Individual World Poetry Slam.

Photo by Christopher Fox Graham
Aaron has performed in theaters, bars, poetry
slams, high schools, universities,art galleries,
comic book stores, street corners, book stores,
living rooms, and in 45 states, in just the past
four years.
After moving to Phoenix in 2008, he formed the musical act "Spoken Circus" alongside Megyn Neff and Marykate Glenn, won the Phoenix Grand Slam and represented Phoenix at IWPS.

He published "Chainsawsmoking" in 2009 and was the KABAM! Book Festival featured author in Kingman. Alongside Ed Mabrey, Myrlin Hepworth and The Klute on the Phoenix National Poetry Slam Team, Johnson's team semi-finals at the 2009 National Poetry Slam in Minneapolis.

In 2010, he returned to the KABAM! Book Festival as a featured author and joined the First Friday Night Live writing staff and promotion crew as well as founding the Pink Slip Poetry Slam in downtown Phoenix.

KABAM! Book Festival brought him back as a featured author a third time in 2011 and he created Encyclopedia Show: Arizona.
In 2011, his chapbook "Roach Killer for Her" was translated into Spanish and he became director of First Friday Night Live at The Firehouse in Phoenix. He also founded Lawn Gnome Publishing.

This year, he has been asked to return as a featured author to KABAM!, been a featured performer at The Encyclopedia Show: Arizona, serves as producer and writer of First Friday Night Live Writer and opened Lawn Gnome Bookstore. He was also featured painter for February's Solo Art Exhibition at Jones Gallery, and city of Phoenix Public Art Grant Recipient for "Dumpsterdiving Haiku" to be installed on Phoenix's busy 7th Avenue and McDowell intersection.

Aaron has performed in theatres, bars, poetry slams, high schools, universities, art galleries, comic book stores, street corners, book stores, living rooms, and in 45 states, in just the past four years.

Sedona Poetry Slam
Photo by Harley Deuce
The Feb. 18 slam will be hosted by Graham, who
represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team 
at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

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.

The Feb. 18 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

Women of the World Poetry Slam Qualifier
This slam is also the qualifier for Sedona's representative to the International Women of the World Poetry Slam, to be held in Denver March 7-10. Highest ranked female or female-identified poets from Sedona earns the slot.

Eligibility: Poets who live their lives as women are eligible to participate in the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Competitors are eligible from certified venues or as individuals from areas without certified venues (a.k.a. “Storm” poets). Certified venues have a window of time to enter before individuals not associated with certified slams are able to enter. All certified venues must have a competition to determine their contestants.

All competitors must be PSI members in good standing and must agree to participate in the event following the rules of Slam as well as the Code of Honor, and must allow for PSI to videotape their performances for PSI owned product.
Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between Dec. 3 and Saturday, 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.

Future slams will take place on Saturday, March 10, featuring Seth Walker from Austin, Texas; Saturday, April 7, featuring Mesa poet Bill Campana; and May 5, featuring Brooklyn, N.Y., poet Sean Patrick Mulroy.

For poetry slam standings, videos from past slams, and updates, visit foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

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.

Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 the day of the event, available at Golden Word Books and Music, 3150 W. SR 89A, and online at studiolivesedona.com.

Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, call (928) 282-2688.

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Aaron Johnson features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Feb. 18

Aaron Johnson features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Feb. 18


Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Feb. 18, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring longtime Phoenix poet Aaron Johnson and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $100 grand prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

The slam will the third of the 2011-12 season, which has been more moving, more energetic and more intense because this year as poets compete 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 the reputation and strength to send its own team 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.

Aaron Johnson
Aaron Johnson likes pinball machines, shortbread cookies, graphic novels, and skateboard competitions. However, Johnson is most likely to found at a poetry slam or rock show, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. As a young teen, he worked at Arby's. It was where he saw a lefthander chop off his thumb in a roast beef slicer. Being a lefty too, Aaron was permanently scarred for life and began writing and performing poetry.

Courtesy photo
Aaron Johnson likes pinball machines, shortbread cookies, graphic
novels, and skateboard competitions. However, Johnson is most
likely to found at a poetry slam or rock
show, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.
Johnson was the 2001 International Poetry Interpretation champion. From 2002 to 2005, he studied communication theory and English at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, participated and coached award-winning speech and debate team.

In 2004, he founded Boardwalk Open Mic and published "Irony Stinks," then "Watering the Poetry" chapbook in 2005. He also participated in his first the National Poetry Slam, held in Albuquerque, N.M., alongside Graham, Logan Phillips and Meghan Jones.

He was the 2006 Southwest Shootout Regional Slam director and represented Flagstaff at the Individual World Poetry Slam.

Photo by Christopher Fox Graham
Aaron has performed in theaters, bars, poetry
slams, high schools, universities,art galleries,
comic book stores, street corners, book stores,
living rooms, and in 45 states, in just the past
four years.
After moving to Phoenix in 2008, he formed the musical act "Spoken Circus" alongside Megyn Neff and Marykate Glenn, won the Phoenix Grand Slam and represented Phoenix at IWPS.

He published "Chainsawsmoking" in 2009 and was the KABAM! Book Festival featured author in Kingman. Alongside Ed Mabrey, Myrlin Hepworth and The Klute on the Phoenix National Poetry Slam Team, Johnson's team semi-finals at the 2009 National Poetry Slam in Minneapolis.

In 2010, he returned to the KABAM! Book Festival as a featured author and joined the First Friday Night Live writing staff and promotion crew as well as founding the Pink Slip Poetry Slam in downtown Phoenix.

KABAM! Book Festival brought him back as a featured author a third time in 2011 and he created Encyclopedia Show: Arizona.
In 2011, his chapbook "Roach Killer for Her" was translated into Spanish and he became director of First Friday Night Live at The Firehouse in Phoenix. He also founded Lawn Gnome Publishing.

This year, he has been asked to return as a featured author to KABAM!, been a featured performer at The Encyclopedia Show: Arizona, serves as producer and writer of First Friday Night Live Writer and opened Lawn Gnome Bookstore. He was also featured painter for February's Solo Art Exhibition at Jones Gallery, and city of Phoenix Public Art Grant Recipient for "Dumpsterdiving Haiku" to be installed on Phoenix's busy 7th Avenue and McDowell intersection.

Aaron has performed in theatres, bars, poetry slams, high schools, universities, art galleries, comic book stores, street corners, book stores, living rooms, and in 45 states, in just the past four years.

Sedona Poetry Slam
Photo by Harley Deuce
The Feb. 18 slam will be hosted by Graham, who
represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team 
at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

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.

The Feb. 18 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

Women of the World Poetry Slam Qualifier
This slam is also the qualifier for Sedona's representative to the International Women of the World Poetry Slam, to be held in Denver March 7-10. Highest ranked female or female-identified poets from Sedona earns the slot.

Eligibility: Poets who live their lives as women are eligible to participate in the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Competitors are eligible from certified venues or as individuals from areas without certified venues (a.k.a. “Storm” poets). Certified venues have a window of time to enter before individuals not associated with certified slams are able to enter. All certified venues must have a competition to determine their contestants.

All competitors must be PSI members in good standing and must agree to participate in the event following the rules of Slam as well as the Code of Honor, and must allow for PSI to videotape their performances for PSI owned product.
Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between Dec. 3 and Saturday, 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.

Future slams will take place on Saturday, March 10, featuring Seth Walker from Austin, Texas; Saturday, April 7, featuring Mesa poet Bill Campana; and May 5, featuring Brooklyn, N.Y., poet Sean Patrick Mulroy.

For poetry slam standings, videos from past slams, and updates, visit foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

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.

Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 the day of the event, available at Golden Word Books and Music, 3150 W. SR 89A, and online at studiolivesedona.com.

Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, call (928) 282-2688.

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

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Poetic Babysitting," by Christopher Fox Graham

"Poetic Babysitting:
How to turn a child into a poet"
By Christopher Fox Graham
for Christopher "You Phonik" Harbster

Before he was You Phonik,
turning straw words Rumpelstiltskin-style into golden poetry

Photo by Saar Ingelbert
Christopher Fox Graham, left, used to babysit Christopher "You Phonik" Harbster in
Chandler, Ariz., where they both grew up.
Before he was crushed by the black onyx

Before earning 10, 10, 10
from poetry slam judges
I knew him as a boy of 10
standing no taller than my waist,

In the world before we knew poetry
he was young Christopher Harbster,
and I, Christopher Fox Graham, was his babysitter
my mission at 17 was to
make sure he could play freely
while his parents were out on the town

As long as ate his vegetables
and was in bed by 8,
I’d earn 40 dollars when they got home at 11

Now the truth is
if you know the man he has become
who stays awake for days
because there is so much poetry
spinning in his head
that he can’t sleep without writing it down
putting him to bed by 8 was impossible
he’d always have another reason
to play hide-and-go-seek
or shoot laser guns
or make forts from the furniture

his parents wanted obedience
but I’m terrible at discipline
and 8 o’clock became 8:30 then 9 o’clock, then 9:30
finally, the rule was: as long as you run to bed
when we hear the garage door open
and can pretend to be asleep
when they go into to check on you
little man, you have the right to stay up
as long as your imagination
can keep your eyelids open
if your dreams can transform this living room
into a battlefield
those sofa cushions into the Alamo
of humanity’s last stand
and the plastic water gun into a laser pistol
blasting away at alien invaders
then the clocks on the wall
are just a few more enemies
we have yet to vanquish tonight
before the Armageddon of your parents
at the gates of doom
brings it all to an inevitable conclusion

now his sister was well-behaved
and would have obeyed her parents’ rules
whether I was there or not
but Christopher was my favorite
because he knew that rules
were made to be broken
which is why he writes free verse
and goes way over time during slams
because, fuck it, the audience needs to hear these words

it wasn’t until years later,
when a boy with a familiar appearance
and an identical name
appeared on a Flagstaff poetry slam stage
and whooped my ass in this game of verbs
that all those years came rushing back
and I realized that giving a boy freedom
can do more to raise him right
than rules, rhetoric and schooling

So I’d like to use this stage and this night
to take credit for gifting him the art of poetry
and announce the CFG Corporation for Poetic Babysitting
parents, for the low, low price of paper and pens
hire me to watch your children
while you enjoy dinner out
your children will learn how to break the rules

“yes, Michael, you can jump on the bed,
but only if it’s the surface of the moon
and you have to do it in iambic pentameter”

“Rachel, you’re right, vegetables are awesome slingshot ammunition,
but aim higher, you have to clear the backyard fence,
and spit lines about flying
from the perspective of the broccoli”

Photo by Saar Ingelbert
Chris "You Phonik" Harbster plays violin in his Flagstaff apartment.
“Julia, your crayon mural in the hallway
could use a little more cerulean blue
those clouds have to stand out in the hunter green sky,”

“Jonathan, remember:
rhinoceroses
with odd numbers of flippers
just swim in circles,
and that’s a haiku”

I’d like espouse my wisdom with words
and squeeze its juice into eager minds
to turn your children into poets like Christopher Harbster

but the truth might be
I was a blank slate before I met him
there was so much poetry in that 10-year-old boy
aching for a page or microphone
that it couldn’t help but to seep out of him
and linger in the air

I must have breathed it in
when I was hyperventilating in those cramped spaces beneath the coffee table
during hide-and-seek

maybe it just spilled out like a blanket
on the sofa when he fell asleep next to me
watching the PG-13 movie
as his dreams gestated into poems
he would later spit on this stage

or maybe the weight of it sank into my spine
when carried him on my back in the yard
because he wanted to get just a little closer to the stars

in his hugs
I felt the tremor in his shoulder blades
that were beginning to push feathers through the skin

now on the right night,
when the lights are dim
and you’re drunk on his verses
you swear can see wings made of words

-- his halo glows a lot like these lights back here --

if I could go back in time
I’d tell that prodigy of a boy:
"you’ll be a great poet one day"

but I know he’d answer:
"I’m just waiting the mics to be hot enough,
now go pave the way for me
I’ll meet you on the stage
when you’re ready"

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Letter of Advice to My Unborn Son"

For the man from Ohio who asked for a copy of this at the FlagSlam poetry slam last night.

"Letter of Advice to My Unborn Son"
By Christopher Fox Graham

Reg Rogers and Susan Pourfar in "Knickerbocker"by Jonathan Marc
Sherman, performed by the Williamstown Theatre Festival
Spit the verse in you; the music will subside.
Life has a volume knob if you know where to look.
Bleed away the bullshit. Kill it with a 40, or a pack of cigarettes
Stand bare naked before a bathroom mirror and count your scars.
Name them in chronological order.
Invent new histories for them; they won't care.

Pretend into fact: dive bar fistfights, lovers with forgettable names.
Make new your old skin and become a rough-and-tumble drunkard in your imagination.

Learn to sneer like an old west cowboy played by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood
Name your dead horse. Work him into random conversations or slam poems.
Sit alone in the desert and remember the long rides.
Weep for him and let the desert swallow your tears.

Cut your skin deep, so you won't fear pain.
Watch yourself bleed.
Understand that that time
is doing the same thing to you.
Then let it heal and forget.

Fuck without fearing it
Don't call your first three lovers.
They will haunt you appropriately.

Then, only fuck for love
Only lonely nights, remember them all
You may love hundreds
or just one for decades
but sin or death will take them all in time
leaving you with only cherished moments
so cherish all the moments
as if they will be your last

Face the city alleys
Know their darknesses:
and the difference between a stray cat
and a street gang.

Forgive your fathers.
Let them teach you how not to live.
Where they failed, do not.
Know that their sins were simple:
they did not see you coming
teach your son better

accept that you will fail
but he may forgive you
for your effort

Some men deserve to die; you are no exception

Fear the indifference of good men more than evil

Know that fools no different than you built all institutions.

Embrace solitude. It will save you on the lonely nights.

Once a year, lay down in a gutter to learn how to sleep there if need be.

Suicide can be rational
men are not.

Watch sunsets prayerfully, to learn why we first worshipped the sun and the moon.
Count stars nightly - know that some will die tonight and never shine again.

Name constellations in your honor. Invent their mythologies

Learn to lie well.
do it sparingly, but be dedicated
Confess to no one
Honest lies become truth in time.
Not all lies are sins
Learn the difference

never admit to being an artist or a poet
they are pretentious
if you are an artist
history will take care of it for you

change jobs constantly
stagnant waters are poisonous

Be blunt with allies
for their loyalty comes through self-reflection
be relentless with enemies
for they will do the same
know that honesty turns friends to foes too often
and deception keeps the peace
build yourself an army
so you have ground to go to

serve your community selflessly
it will repay in kind
Know it can turn rabid
flee when necessary
mobs cannibalize leaders

Resist authority, always
Obedience must be earned

Governments replace anarchy, but they are not free from it
order is an illusion between riots and revolutions

Love your nation and your tribe
never call yourself a patriot
you are better than that.

Admire the pageantry of humanity
but do not believe it
we all wear silly hats

Converse with lunatics
they have much to teach
speak their dialects

Women are sacred, always.
Men are expendable, always.
Without women, our tribe is lost.
So raise your daughters to be warriors.

Breed intelligently
you owe it to your grandparents

Know that your honor and your pride
are the only gifts you give yourself
and the only things none can take from you

Death is evitable
embrace this
die nobly if you can
we are meat puppets
be sure not to spoil

Words can kill
use them wisely
Speak honestly and slow
Enunciate with conviction.
Your words will bind you when all else is lost.

Poetry is the captured sincerity of a moment
you live for only a moment
live poetically

Thursday, February 2, 2012

“Nebraska” by Miles Walser


Miles Walser of the University of Minnesota performs on finals stage at the 2010 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.
“Nebraska”
By Miles Walser

For years you hid your tampons between mattresses, cut your hair short, lowered your voice, collected ace bandages and baggy clothes.
Small town talk stuck to your shoulders, you nervously shuffled around gas stations, never looked men in the eyes.
We share unwanted wombs.
While mine collects cobwebs, yours lies in a coffin in Nebraska.

Brandon Teena (Dec. 12, 1972 – Dec. 31, 1993) was a transman who
was raped and murdered in Humboldt, Neb., along with two others.
His life and death were the subject of the Academy Award-winning
1999 film "Boys Don't Cry," which was based on the documentary film
"The Brandon Teena Story."
This is the state that made you famous, handed movie scripts to Hilary Swank.
Your murder was Oscar worthy.
We are walking obituaries.
Your hate crime headline already carved across my forehead, people look at me and see your delicate hands and absent adam’s apple.

Brother, I’m afraid to use the bathroom…
(Walk in, head down, don’t look at another guy.) I’m afraid I’ll be discovered…
(Don’t talk, dont stare, don’t piss too quickly.)
Some thick armed man will call me a queer, tell me to show him my tits.
Suddenly I’m thrown against faucets, spit in my face, workboot gutting my stomach.
I see you on the movie screen and wonder if it’s my reflection.
I watch them push you into the dirt and drag me into their car as they break our bodies in between our thighs.

Brother, did it hurt when you kissed her goodbye?
Did you know you were breaking your promise when you told her you’d come back?
Did your parents panic?
Buy you a prom dress?
Struggle over pronouns at family gatherings?
And how long did it take your girlfriend to run her hands along your skin, soft as hers?
Did she leave her eyes open?

We are carcasses.
Untouched boxes of condoms.
We are public secrets, playground jokes, and horror films.
We are costumes, stuffing, binding and makeup.
We aren’t real men to them.
Invisible til we’re screaming.
They don’t remember our names until they read them on our tombstones.

A tattoo from Virgina, which was inked in honor of this poem.
They exposed you.
Decided you’re better off as splattered ink on newspaper.
Used you as a warning for the rest of us.
And there are days when it works.
Sometimes I forget that sidewalks can be safe.
Sometimes I confuse their shooting eyes for the bullet that met yours.
Sometimes I imagine the phone call my mother would get.
Can almost hear my sobbing friends.
Smell the lillies on my casket.
Touch my girlfriend’s black dress.
But brother, I am trying to be brave.



Miles Walser, convinced that he wanted to become a guard at Buckingham Palace, once spent an entire afternoon practicing his serious faces. Since then, his career goals have remained ridiculous, but now allow for occasional smiling. A student in Minneapolis, he represented the University of Minnesota at the 2010 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational where he was named Best Male Poet.

He has also represented both Minneapolis and Madison, Wis., at the National Poetry Slam. He likes kittens more than the average person, and could never stand being land-locked. 

For more of his work, check out mileswalser.tumblr.com.

“The Light Inside Us” by April Ranger

“The Light Inside Us”
By April Ranger

Think of the firefly,
beating its bright pulse.
Think of the firefly
smashed against a child’s arm
because someone promised it would make his wrist glow
and he wanted to keep the light forever.

Think of the first love you ever destroyed
because you’d never known anything like it before,
like seeing your own heartbeat outside of yourself,
a flickering, luminescent miracle -
you wanted to crush it to your skin.

Think of the luster inside you,
that spark that blazed the first time
you bared yourself to another human being, said:
"Call me brilliant as the sun,
or ugly as a naked bulb,
I am dangling before you
so you might not stumble."





April Ranger grew up in rural Maine and discovered the Cantab Lounge in Cambrigde, Mass., while pursuing a theater degree at Emerson College. An open mic standout for months, she made a decisive slam debut in 2008, qualifying to try out for the venue’s National Poetry Slam team in one of the last open slams of the season.

After handily making the team’s roster, that same year saw her competing on the Finals Stage of the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wis., and subsequently returning home to add the 2008 NorthBEAST Regional Individual Championship to her list of slam credits.

Photo by Michelle Campbell Barry.
April Ranger performs on the 2008 National Poetry Slam finals stage.
One of the Cantab’s franchise players, April went on to represent the venue as part of the NPS teams in 2010 and 2011, and additionally as the venue’s sole representative to the Individual World Poetry Slam in both 2009 and 2011.

She has informally served as the Cantab team’s vocal coach since 2008, and is a valued workshopper and featured performer throughout the region. She has completed multiple short-leg national tours with past Cantab teammate Carrie Rudzinski.

An emerging playwright, April received Emerson’s 2007 Nicole Dusfresne award for her play Street Sweepers, and her ten-minute play Frabjous Day premiered at the 2008 Boston Theatre Marathon at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Her poems have appeared in Muzzle Magazine and Off the Coast, and she is the author of three chapbooks, "We Are Not As Strong", "The Sacred Heartbeat of Consent", and "Blood Oranges," "Top Bunk", and a CD, "Like Canvas."

With her twin sister, Aimee Rose, she is a co-founder of SOOP (Stories of Our People), a storytelling-and-poetry community show run from their home in Roxbury, Mass.