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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nodalone features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Oct. 13


Nodalone features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Oct. 13


Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Oct. 13, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Las Vegas poet Nodalone 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 is the first of the 2012-13 season, which will culminate in selection of Sedona's second National Poetry Slam Team, the foursome and alternate who will represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., in August. (Assuming, of course, the Mayans don't destroy the world in December 2012. Or the  Québécois in January 2013. If you thought the Mayan calendar was apocalyptic, just wait until the Québécois get their shot ....)

The local poets 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.

Sedona sent its five-poet first team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C.

Nodalone

Nodalone - Shaun Srivistava - is the first featured poet of the SedonaPoetry Slam Season.
Nodalone will feature Saturday, Oct. 13.
Nodalone — born Shaun Srivastava — is a spoken word artist currently residing in Las Vegas. While quietly writing for years, Nodalone began performing his work in late 2010 in Flagstaff. Ever since, the poet has continued to bring his poems to life on stage at slams and various events throughout the country.

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

Nodalone is the 2011 FlagSlam Grand Slam Champion and a member of both the 2011 and 2012 FlagSlam National Poetry Slam Teams.

He prefers hugs to handshakes, and is a raging baby animal enthusiast.

Sedona Poetry Slam


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 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on six FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012.

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

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.

All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain their audience with their creativity.

2013 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team


Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between September and May. Every poet earns 1 point for performing or hosting. 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 2013 National Poetry Slam in Boston. Poets can compete for multiple teams during a season and still be eligible to compete in the Sedona team.

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

Tickets are $10 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.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

GumptionFest's annual Haiku Death Match only 2 days away ....

Time to get writing, poets. The Haiku Death Match nears.
You need about 20 haiku to compete. The more, the better, however.

GumptionFest VII's Haiku Death Match, aka GF7HDM

As in past years, we will hold a Haiku Death Match, (not a "death match" per se, but a Head-to-Head Haiku Slam), at GumptionFest VII. GumptionFest VII will be Friday to Sunday, Sept. 14 to 16, along Coffee Pot Drive and State Route 89A in West Sedona.

The Haiku Death Match will be held Saturday, Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. at the Szechuan Martini Bar, on the north side of State Route 89A.

Challenge last year's champion, Teresa Newkirk,
and vie for the
Grand Prize of $17

A Haiku Poetry Slam is a competitive poetry duel that is a subgenre of poetry slam. The Haiku Poetry Slam is a prominent feature at the annual National Poetry Slam, replete with full costume for the host, in the style of former NPS hosts Daniel Ferri and Jim Nave and current NPS host Taz Yamaguchi.

At GumptionFest VII, we will attempt to hold a Haiku Death Match as similar to the NPS Haiku Poetry Slam version as possible.

Can you beat The Klute, the 2010 GumptionFest Grand Haikuster?
What is haiku?
Haiku (俳句) is a form of Japanese poetry consisting of 17 syllables in three metrical phrases of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.

Japanese haiku typically contain a kigo, or seasonal reference, and a kireji or verbal caesura. In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to parallel the three metrical phrases of Japanese haiku.

What is slam haiku?
Slam haiku used in a Haiku Death Match is far simpler: Use of three or fewer lines of 17 syllables. Slam haiku can be anything from a single 17-syllable line or simply 17 words.

A standard Haiku Death Match is conducted thus:
The host randomly draws the names of two poets, known as haikusters, from the pool of competitors.
The haikusters adorn headbands of two colors: Red and Not-Red (white).
Red Haikuster and Host bow to each other.
Not-Red Haikuster and Host bow to each other.
Red Haikuster and Not-Red Haikuster bow to each other.
Red Haikuster goes first.
The Red Haikuster reads his or her haiku twice. The audience does not clap or make noise (usually, though, they laugh or vocalize, but, of course, we must pretend that this is completely unacceptable).
The Not-Red Haikuster reads his or her haiku twice. Again, the audience does not clap or make noise.
The host waits for the three judges to make their choice for winner, then signals them to hold aloft their Red or Not-Red flag.
Simple majority (3-0 or 2-1) determines the winner.
The host asks the audience to demonstrate “the sound of one hand clapping,” i.e., silence, then “the sound of two hands clapping,” at which point they can finally applaud. The mock ceremony involving the audience is half the fun.
The winning haikuster then goes first.
Depending on the round, the winner will be best 3 of 5, 4 of 7, best 5 of 9, etc., of a number determined beforehand for each round.
After the duel, Red Haikuster and Not-Red Haikuster bow to each other and shake hands. The next duel begins.
Rules for the GumptionFest VI Haiku Death Match:
  • Titles: Haikusters can read their haiku titles before they read the haiku. (This gives the haikusters technically more syllables to put the haiku in context, but the haiku itself must still be only 17 syllables. While this is not “pure” Haiku Death Match rules, it’s much more fun for the audience.

  • Originality: Poets must be the sole authors of the haiku they use in competition. Plagiarized haiku are grounds for disqualification. We all love Matsuo Bashō, but he’s 300 years too dead to compete.

  • On-page or memorized?: Poets can read from the page, book, journal, notepad, etc.

  • Preparation: Poets can have haiku written beforehand or write them in their head while at the mic. As long as the haiku are 17 syllables, we don’t care how, when or from where the haiku originates.

  • Rounds: Will be determined by the number of haikusters who sign up to compete.

  • Quantity of haiku needed: Depends on the number of rounds. 30 haiku will likely be enough for poets who push rounds to the last haiku needed and go all the rounds, but 50 to 100 gives haikusters enough material to be flexible in competition. Most veteran haikusters have several hundred to compete with.

  • Censorship: Adult themes and language are acceptable. There may be children present so you may have to deal with their parents afterward, but that’s your call.

  • Register early: E-mail me at foxthepoet@yahoo.com.
What’s the Best Strategy to Win?
  • A winning haikuster is flexible.

  • If your opponent reads a serious or deep haiku, read one that is more serious or more profound, or go on the opposite tack and read something funny.

  • If your opponent reads a funny haiku, read one that is funnier, or go on the opposite tack and read something serious or deep.

  • If your opponent makes fun of you, make fun of yourself even bigger or make fun of them. A good head-to-head haiku can work wonders and often wins a Haiku duel. For instance, my “Damien Flores Haiku,” “Easy way to win: / Damien is 20, Officer, / and he's drunk."

  • If you’re on stage and you get an idea for a haiku, feel free to write it down immediately. That might be the next round’s haiku that wins you the duel.

  • Have a good time. Even if don't get past the first round, it's still a great time for all.

Slam poet Josh Wiss joins GumptionFest lineup

Saturday, Sept. 15, 9:30 p.m. @ Oak Creek Brewing Co.:

Josh Wiss, a member of the the 2012 Sedona National Poetry Slam Teams

Josh Wiss, photo by Tara Graeber
Josh Wiss is a 21-year-old poet who is bound to a lifestyle constant creativity. He attended his first poetry slam in the Fall of 2010 and has been addicted to the art form ever since.
A self-proclaimed “feeler,” Wiss lives life riding the oscillating waves of a water sign. He has dedicated his life to embracing the purity of existence and trying to transcribe experiences through a variety of expressive mediums.
Whether he is plucking ukulele strings, painting vibrant panels or pouring poetry onto pages, Josh attempts to completely envelop himself in each of his works. His poetry is raw and often reflects an optimistic side of his personality. Obsessed with bold colors and blowing bubbles, a childlike energy inhabits his performances.
Grateful to be finished with an undergraduate degree in English from Northern Arizona University, Wiss now faces the task of being a “poet in debt” with naïve excitement. He has hopes of publishing fiction, non-fiction, poetry and even graphic works in the years to come.
He has self-released four albums of his various musical projects to date and plans to continue making albums as well. The journey that will quench his wanderlust is still on the horizon. Until then you may find him buried in books or consumed by canvas.
It is his goal to help others however he can with his art under the belief that even the most personal of feelings is relatable and relative in life. Wading through waves of weird, this mind-surfer finds contentment in the simplicities of life.
Wiss was a member of the inaugural Sedona National Poetry Slam Team in 2012 and competed with his team at the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Poets at GumptionFest VII

Poets at GumptionFest VII

Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., @ Szechuan Martini Bar:

Christopher Fox Graham, host of the Sedona Poetry Slam and member of the 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012 Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Teams

Christopher Fox Graham, photo by Harley Deuce
Christopher Fox Graham is a poet living in Sedona, Arizona.
Beginning his performance poetry career in 2000, Graham has been a member of six Flagstaff National Poetry Slam teams, representing Flagstaff in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012. Graham won the Flagstaff Poetry Grand Slam championship in 2004 and 2012.
Graham was part of the Save the Male Tour, a four-man international spoken word tour in 2002 that performed in 26 states over three months.
In 2005 and 2006, Graham’s teams won the Slab City Slam at Arcosanti, the state’s poetry slam team championships.
Since 2006, Graham has been the poetry coordinator of GumptionFest, a free, grassroots arts festival in Sedona.
In 2008, he founded the Sedona Poetry Slam and became a slammaster in 2012, sponsoring the inaugural Sedona National Poetry Slam Team. Graham was a featured performer at the invitation-only 2012 Desert Rocks Music Festival.
Graham has published five books of poetry and a spoken word CD, and been published in six anthologies of spoken word and in two DVDs of Grand Slam Championships. He has been featured in two films on the
Sedona art scene.
Graham has performed poetry for MTV, The Travel Channel and at venues in nearly 40 states, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain.
His blog, FoxThePoet.Blogspot.com, features his work and those of other national poets and Sedona artists, recording more than 2,000 hits a week.

Friday, Sept. 14, 10 p.m., @ Olde Sedona Bar & Grill:

Evan Dissinger, a member of the 2012 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team.

Evan Dissinger, photo by Kelly Watts
Acrylic tattooed skateboards, the sound of concrete waves crashing, rock ’n’ roll to pass the time, marijuana cigarettes, and candle light dinners eaten alone.
Evan Dissinger like to paint and laugh in kinetic conversations.
He enjoys watching Atlas shoulder tomorrows promises, no sun rise should be taken for granted.
Dissinger and his cat, Azula, both smile at serendipitous psychedelic situations. He doesn’t believe in cops, bosses or politicians, some call that anarchism, He calls it having a fucking heart that beats. He believes in being honest, especially if it means being wrong, self-reliance is a product of self-responsibility.
Joe Strummer said his motivation to wake every morning was the ability to think. That gift is the one certainty we have in this life, the simple knowledge that we are here, right now, everything else should be subject to question.
Dissinger is infatuated with the human experience. There is no wrong way to live life as long as you can recognize fleeting moments of true lucid beauty.
Don’t check out early, there are great stories and warm coffee here, there is no way the next life will be as vivid visceral.
Live as if this were a dream and nothing can stop you from knowing who you are.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 5 p.m., @ Szechuan Martini Bar:

4th annual Haiku Death Match

The GumptionFest VII Haiku Death Match is open to all attendees of GumptionFest VII.

What is haiku?

Haiku (俳句) is a form of Japanese poetry consisting of 17 syllables in three metrical phrases of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.
Japanese haiku typically contain a kigo, or seasonal reference, and a kireji or verbal caesura. In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to parallel the three metrical phrases of Japanese haiku.

What is slam haiku?

lam haiku used in a Haiku Death Match is far simpler: Use of three or fewer lines of 17 syllables. Slam haiku can be anything from a single 17-syllable line or simply 17 words.

What are the Haiku Death Match rules?

  • Titles: Haikusters can read their haiku titles before they read the haiku. (This gives the haikusters technically more syllables to put the haiku in context, but the haiku itself must still be only 17 syllables. While this is not “pure” Haiku Death Match rules, it’s much more fun for the audience.
  • Originality: Poets must be the sole authors of the haiku they use in competition. Plagiarized haiku are grounds for disqualification. We all love Matsuo Bashō, but he’s 300 years too dead to compete.
  • On-page or memorized?: Poets can read from the page, book, journal, notepad, etc.
  • Preparation: Poets can have haiku written beforehand or write them in their head while at the mic. As long as the haiku are 17 syllables, we don’t care how, when or from where the haiku originates.
  • Rounds: Will be determined by the number of haikusters who sign up to compete.
  • Quantity of haiku needed: Depends on the number of rounds. 30 haiku will likely be enough for poets who push rounds to the last haiku needed and go all the rounds, but 50 to 100 gives haikusters enough material to be flexible in competition. Most veteran haikusters have several hundred to compete with.
  • Censorship: Adult themes and language are acceptable. There may be children present so you may have to deal with their parents afterward, but that’s your call.
  • Register early: E-mail Christopher Fox Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m., @ Szechuan Martini Bar:

The Klute, a member of the 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 Mesa National Poetry Slam Teams, the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 Phoenix National Poetry Slam Team, a two-time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist, and winner of the 2010 GumptionFest Haiku Death Match

The Klute, photo by Jessica Mason-Paull
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, 2010 and 2012. 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.
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.”

Saturday, Sept. 15, 9:30 p.m. @ Oak Creek Brewing Co.:

Ryan Brown, a member of the the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Teams, and 2008 National Poetry Slam semi-finalist

Ryan Brown, photo by Tara Graeber
Born twenty-three years ago in Phoenix, Arizona, Ryan Brown has been writing and performing poetry in Northern Arizona for nearly five years.
After discovering Flagstaff’s FlagSlam in 2007, Brown began writing poetry with a small group of like-minded young people, eventually taking over as the slam’s Slammaster in the fall of 2008. That year, the Flagstaff poetry scene saw features such as Gypsee Yo and Andrea Gibson hit Flagstaff stages for the first time, reinvigorating a slam community that pulled poets from Northern Arizona University, Sedona, and Phoenix to create one of the largest consistent poetry slams in Arizona.
After slamming at his first National Poetry Slam in 2008, Brown began to focus his writing more on the ideals of community, social networking, and the ever-cliché but always boundless topics of love, intimate relationships, and human connection.
Teaming up with Frank O’Brien on Flagstaff nationals teams in 2008, 2009, and 2010, Brown worked on herb and coffee farms in Hawaii in late 2010, eventually coming back to NAU to get an English degree with the class of 2012. The
FlagSlam took place at Sundara Boutique for the 2011-12 season, thriving in an all-ages scene that draws upwards of 75 people on a schoolnight, poets flocking from miles away.
Currently the Flagstaff Slammaster, Brown’s passion for poetry and poetic expression can be rivaled by his love of baseball, skateboarding, and patio conversations with a few good friends, or a couple of brothers.
He cites John Cartier, Frank O’Brien, Jessica Guadarrama, Aaron Johnson, and Josh Wiss as his biggest influences, both in poetry and in life, and would like to give a shout-out to his pug-terrier Pip, whom he passed on to another family before taking off to Hawaii.
Peace, homie.

Sunday, Sept. 16 5:45 p.m. @ Szechuan Martini Bar:

Tara Pollock, a member of the 2012 Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team

Tara Pollack, photo by Tara Graeber
Tara Pollock has been writing poetry since she was a young girl, and performing poetry on and off throughout her adult life.
She is excited to have the opportunity to be on Flagstaff’s 2012 National Poetry Slam Team. She seeks to inspire, liberate, and uplift through her words.
The creative force of poetry has been a catalyst for her personal evolution, as well as providing a medium through which she has come to know herself more deeply, and to share herself with her community. She is currently finishing her Biology degree at Northern Arizona University with plans to attend Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in the fall of 2013.
When she is not knee deep in books, pens, and paper, she can be found teaching yoga, hiking, dancing or cooking.

Sunday, Sept. 16, 9:30 p.m. Olde Sedona Bar & Grill:

Dan Seaman, longtime Prescott are poet and founder and host of the Slab City Slam, Arizona’s state poetry team championship from 2001-2007

Dan Seaman is a performance poet and fire dancer
Dan Seaman is a second-generation Arizonan who was encouraged to continue writing poetry … despite the obvious physical contradictions of his overtly masculine appearance and furrowed brow.
His work has been described as “realistic romanticism”… and his voice, as “an undertow of emotion”.
Dan was also a co-founder of the 2001-2007 Arizona State Championships held at Arcosanti, diligently planning, hosting, managing and overall making sure the best weekend of poetry is the state lived up to it’s pedigree …