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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Houston Hughes features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Nov. 17

Houston Hughes features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Nov. 17

Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Fayetteville, Ark., poet Houston Hughes 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.
Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at
7:30 p.m. featuring poet Houston Hughes from Fayetteville, Ark.

Houston Hughes


Houston Hughes was introduced to poetry slam in 2006, and by 2010 had made finals stage at the Individual World Poetry Slam, placing him among the top 12 performance poets in the world.

In the time in between, he won individual recognition at the 2008 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational tournament, led the Hendrix College team to win the Region 12 championship in 2009, and has been part of the Ozark Poetry Slam team for two years.

Hughes has toured across the country and has opened for a variety nationally known acts such as Saul Williams and Otep.

Hughes currently resides in Fayetteville, Ark., where he is part of the planning committee for IWPS 2012.

For more on Hughes, visit:
www.HoustonHughes.tk
www.reverbnation.com/PoetryByHouston
www.facebook.com/PoetryByHouston

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


Last year, five poets represented Sedona at the week-long National
Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C. In August 2013, NPS will be held in
Boston and Cambridge, Mass. Will you be among them? Or will you
help choose who represents Red Rock Country in Beantown?
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.

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 http://www.azarts.gov/azpoetlaureate.

“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 www.azarts.gov.

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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ryan Brown wins the first 2012-13 Sedona Poetry Slam

Photo by Tara Graeber
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, wins the Oct. 13, 2012 Sedona Poetry Slam.
Ryan Brown wins the first Sedona Poetry Slam of the 2012-13 National Poetry Slam Season, held Oct. 13, 2012.


Round 1
Random Draw

Calibration: Jackie Stockwell, of Flagstaff

Lynn Gravatt, of Sedona, 18.7, 1:40
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 25.9, 3:03
The Klute, of Phoenix, 23.2, 2:06
Lauren Deja, of Phoenix, 24.8, 2:13
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 24.1, 2:43
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood, 23.7, 1:33
Ashley Swazey, of Phoenix, 24.8, 1:55
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 23.0, 2:45
Little Blue Lyon-Fish, of Phoenix, 22.9, 2:39
Austin Reeves, of Flagstaff, 23.6, 2:29
Vincent Vega, of Flagstaff, 25.1, 2:22
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix, 23.8, 23.3 after 0.5 time penalty, 3:13
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff/Phoenix, 25.3, 1:59

Sorbet: Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona, "The Golden Record"

Round 2
Reverse Order
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff/Phoenix, 26.5, 1:39, 51.8
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix, 26.4, 2:30, 49.7
Vincent Vega, of Flagstaff, 22.5, 1:51, 47.6
Austin Reeves, of Flagstaff, 23.0, 2:53, 46.6
Little Blue Lyon-Fish, of Phoenix, 26.2, 2:55, 49.1
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 26.2, 2:04, 49.2
Ashley Swazey, of Phoenix, 26.8., 28.3 after 0.5 time penalty, 3:17, 51.1
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood, 25.5, 1:56, 49.2
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 26.4, 2:32, 50.5
Lauren Deja, of Phoenix, 25.8, 2:46, 50.6
The Klute, of Phoenix, 29.5, 2:34, 52.7
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 28.6, 2:43, 54.5
Lynn Gravatt, of Sedona, 25.3, 1:23, 44.0


Photo by Tara Graeber
Nodalone, of Las Vegas, featured at the Oct. 13, 2012 Sedona Poetry Slam.
Feature: Nodalone, of Las Vegas, Nev.

Sorbet: Charles Levett, of Phoenix

Round 3
High to Low
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 27.0, 2:06, 81.5
The Klute, of Phoenix, 26.3, 1:22, 79.0
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff/Phoenix, 26.6, 1:47, 78.4
Ashley Swazey, of Phoenix, 26.0, 2:21, 77.1
Lauren Deja, of Phoenix, 25.4, 1:54, 76.0

Sorbet: Jeremiah Blue, of Phoenix

Victory: Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff

Final Scores
1 Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 81.5
2 The Klute, of Phoenix, 79.0
3 Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff/Phoenix, 78.4
4 Ashley Swazey, of Phoenix, 77.1
5 Lauren Deja, of Phoenix, 76.0

6 Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 50.5
7 Lauren Perry, of Phoenix,  49.7
8 Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 49.2
8 Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood,  49.2
10 Little Blue Lyon-Fish, of Phoenix,  49.1
11 Vincent Vega, of Flagstaff, 47.6
12 Austin Reeves, of Flagstaff,  46.6
13 Lynn Gravatt, of Sedona,  44.0

Scorekeeper and camerawoman: Azami
Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Slamoff Point Standings
4 points
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff✓
3 points
The Klute, of Phoenix
2 points
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff/Phoenix
1 point
Jeremiah Blue, of Phoenix*
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood
Lauren Deja, of Phoenix
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff
Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona
Lynn Gravatt, of Sedona
Charles Levett, of Phoenix*
Little Blue Lyon-Fish, of Phoenix
nodalone, of Las Vegas
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix
Austin Reeves, of Flagstaff
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix
Ashley Swazey, of Phoenix
Vincent Vega, of Flagstaff
0.5 points
Jackie Stockwell, of Flagstaff

✓ = won a Sedona Poetry Slam
*=Due to a communication error that was totally my fault, these two poets contacted me early enough to slam, as such and in deferrence to their dedication, they earn a full participation point for this slam.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First three slams of the 2012-13 Sedona Poetry Slam Season

2012-13 Sedona Poetry Slam Season

  • Saturday, October 13
    Feature: Nodalone, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Saturday, November 17
    Feature: Houston Hughes, Fayetteville, Ark. 
  • Saturday, December  1
    Feature: Jordan Ranft, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Buy your tickets now for the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Oct. 13


Buy your tickets now for 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 Sedona
Poetry 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


Last year, five poets represented Sedona at the week-long National
Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C. In August 2013, NPS will be held in
Boston and Cambridge, Mass. Will you be among them? Or will you
help choose who represents Red Rock Country in Beantown?
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  online at studiolivesedona.com.



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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"The Golden Record" by Christopher Fox Graham


This audio recording of Bulgarian folk sing Valya Balkanska performing “Izlel e Delyu Haydutin,” is one of several songs on the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes.

"The Golden Record"
A poem for the Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft
By Christopher Fox Graham

in 60,000 years
when the human race is extinct
racing at a geologic pace to fossilize ourselves
next to dinosaurs
Valya Balkanska will still be singing
she may be the last
and only voice
the galaxy knows of our species

to tell her story
I must begin at the beginning:
we all shared the same neighborhood once
when matter didn’t matter so much
but FLASH-BANG! scattered us
like children
from doors of school
on the last day before summer
some stayed close to home
while others wanted to see how far away they could run

and when they began to pick up the pieces
they clung to each other so tightly
you could feel the gravity of it all
but these rocky asteroids and gas giants
comets of ice and terrestrials covered in methane or argon
stare across the vacuum playing telephone with each other
and wonder if they’ll ever touch again

can you hear them?
they speak slow
some syllables take millions of years to finish
but out in the black
are so many lost marbles
they number a billion billion for each one of us here
they, too, were born blind in the dark
wondering, “what is this place”“
and “where did I come from?”
they cling to the nearest glowing stars
like lost children
terrified to be alone

The Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977.
among the sea
in a stretch of nebula
on one of those marbles
unremarkable in its ordinariness
a thump-pulse of moving things speaks so fast
the planets can’t understand the gibberish
but they love the sound of it all
it reminds them of a split moment in lost memory
when we all were dancing on the head of a pinprick

those creatures, they say,
have sent ambassadors into the stars
riding radio waves in images and sounds
but we have no way to answer, just to listen
a few constructions of metal
have sailed into the dark bearing their dreams
like messages in bottles
so if they annihilate themselves
in a flash of fire
or by eating up all the matter on which they survive
something will remain to prove
there was some magic once

The Golden Record with encoded messages about how to play it,
Earth's location triangulated with 14 pulsars, and information about
the hydrogen atom to give a point of measurement reference.
on one of those lost satellites called Voyager
now 18 billion miles away from a home
it will never see again
is a golden record
and instructions to play it
so if, in eons hence
on some other marble, wiser life sprouts
and in their wild youth,
breaks the laws of gravity
they may find it floating wandering in the dark
and hear the sounds

of us

those alien discoverers may not get past the wonder
of greetings in 55 different human languages
saying in Begali “Hello! Let there be peace everywhere.”
or in Indonesian “Good night ladies and gentlemen.” and
“Goodbye and see you next time.”

after hearing “Johnny B. Goode”
they may crusade the stars
searching for Earth
and more Chuck Berry
they may listen over and over
to the perfect precision of Beethovan’s 5th symphony

or the unleased joy in the Peruvian wedding song

1½ tons of metal
weighing nothing in the ether
carries our billion conversations
every love story
every epic poem
every genocide and celebrity wedding
every nation to rise and fall
every miracle
manmade or otherwise

1½ tons of metal
carries the weight of 10,000 years of human history
on a record barely an hour long

But when they hear Valya Balkanska sing“Izlel e Delyu Haydutin,”
our evolution and extinction will not have been in vain

those alien discoverers
may not have tears
but they will know we did
they may not understand grief
but the first sound they utter afterward
will become it
they will understand
why we could not bear to be alone
when there were so many lost marbles
aching to feel footsteps
the touch of stargazing strangers
they will know there was good in us
and they may even call us 
“brothers”

to the creatures who find Voyager:
you may not have a song to mourn your dead
but as Valya’s haunting melody
and the Bulgarian pipes
retch all the sorrow of a million human generations 
into the stars one last time
you have a mourning song now

and Valya,
Valya will sing it for us