This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 670,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Rage Almighty, Jan. 1, 1983 - Oct. 13, 2019

Rage Almighty, aka Adam Tench
Jan. 1, 1983 - Oct. 13, 2019




Rage Almighty, aka Rage The Poet, was born Adam Tench on the first day of 1983 in Boston, Mass. Rage died Oct. 13, 2019, of a reported cardiac arrest at age 35.

Rage Almighty was a long-time figure in the Dallas and National Poetry Slam scene. He always had a kind word for those of us on the Flagstaff and Sedona National Poetry Slam teams. We mourn his loss.

By age 11, Rage Almighty had begun his acting career having had roles in several school plays. At age 13, in search of better opportunity and a better place for Rage and his sister to grow up, Rage’s family moved to Dallas, Texas, specifically the north side, or the “Nawfside” as the locals call it. It was here that Rage honed his writing skills and, with the influence of his older sister, focused his attention on poetry.


He quickly became know around school for his poetry, and it was around this time he picked up the name “Baby Rage.” The name was given to him by a high school anger management counselor, due to his disdain for and angst toward his surroundings.



“Almighty” was later added to his moniker just as “Baby” was dropped, spawned by his ever-growing confidence and talent as a poet. Rage Almighty eventually came across a fake ID, which allowed him to take his poetry from high school slam poetry events to various clubs and open mic nights across town. In the meantime, he continued to perform in numerous school plays and talent shows.


By the time he was actually old enough to get in many venues with his own ID, Rage Almighty had established his name on the local underground poetry scene. His clever rhyme scheme and versatility were what got him the attention.

From the harsh reality of some of his subject matter to the smooth swagger of his more sensual material, Rage Almighty had something for everyone. From poetry, he expanded into a rapper as well. “Don’t let the poetry fool you,” he’ll say, as his reputation became that of a fierce MC.

With influences including Nas, Outkast, Method Man and The Roots, and an arsenal diverse enough to contain club anthems, conscience lyrics and everything in between, Rage Almighty put himself in a position to be the next star to rise out of Dallas .

His music, the hybrid of rap, soul and spoken word which he has branded as “Cosmic Soul,” is built on his experiences from both Boston and Texas and with his own intelligent perspective, tells stories and interpretations of love, oppression, poverty and everyday life.


Rage Almighty was also a youth advocate and leads workshops focusing on emotional literacy and destigmatizing mental illness in communities of color: In 2016, the organization Louder Than a Bomb named him Teaching Artist of the Year.

Rage Almighty has received numerous honors and awards for his work on the slam circuit, including the 2017 Bayou City Poetry Slam Champion, the 2014 National Poetry Award for Best Spoken Word Album, and the 2014 North Texas Spoken Word Award for Poet of the Year. He was runner-up at the 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam Championships and the 2013 Dallas Grand Slam Champion, and he represented the United States at the World Cup Poetry Slam in Paris.

An opening act for musical artists such as T.I., Dead Prez, Chrisette Michele, and Brand Nubian as well as poets Saul Williams and Nikki Giovanni, he also appeared on season 4 of Lexus' "Verses and Flow."
 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Sedona Poetry Slam on Sept. 7 features The Klute, Bill Campana, Patrick Hare

The Sedona Poetry Slam returns for its 11th year bringing high-energy, competitive spoken word to the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. The slam kicks off the 2019-2020 season with three featured slam poets who are among the best in Arizona’s history.

The Klute

The Klute, photo courtesy of Jessica Mason-Paull
Bernard “The Klute” Schober is the most recognizable voice from Arizona on poetry slam’s national stage. He grew up along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean on Palm Beach, Fla., where he cultivated a love of sharks to become an activist for shark preservation through the medium of spoken word. He has had the privilege of deep sea diving with those fantastic fish, from the Great White sharks of Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, to the reef sharks of Egypt’s Red Sea coast.

Klute has represented Sedona, Mesa and Phoenix and at the National Poetry Slam 10 times between 2002 and 2014 and has opened for spoken word superstars such as Saul Williams and Amber Tamblyn. He has been the featured performer in such legendary venues as Vancouver’s Cafe Deux Soliels and New York City’s Bowery Poetry Cafe.

His first spoken word CD “Reading the Obituaries Over My Dead Body” and his first book, “Klutopocrypha,” were released by Brick Cave Books. He published a book of shark-themed poems “Chumming the Waters” in 2016. His second book of shark poems “Cap’n Klute’s Ocean Almanac” is illustrated by Arizona artists Gary Bowers and Jan Marc Quisimbing and 100% of book sales go to shark conservation nonprofits.






Bill Campana

Bill Campana is a 1955 model who has outlived his warranty.  He has three books of poetry out with Brick Cave Media: “Said Beauty to the Blues,” “The Ragtime of Modern Living” and “flotsam and gomorrah (parlour tricks and other mysteries).”

He currently hosts the open mic portion of the Caffeine Corridor Poetry Series on Grand Avenue in Phoenix.

He has a high school diploma but has no idea where the hell it is.

Campana has competed with the Mesa National Poetry Slam Team multiple times on the national stage and is known as the loudest voice in poetry slam.



Patrick Hare

Patrick Hare, photo courtesy of David Tabor
Patrick Hare was a member of three Mesa National Poetry Slam Teams.

Hare was a pioneer in the field of poetic sarcasm before the age of snark.

Hare has hosted more than his fair share of poetry events and featured at nearly every venue in the Phoenix Valley.

The poetic trio will perform between the competitive rounds of the regular poetry slam.

A poetry slam is like a series of high-energy, three-minute one-person plays, judged by the audience. Slam poetry is an art form that allows written page poets to share their work alongside theatrical performers, hip-hop artists and lyricists. 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 and inspire the audience with their creativity.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. To compete in the slam, poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted. The poets are judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

Poets in the Sedona Poetry Slam come from as far away as Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, competing against adult poets from Sedona and Cottonwood, college poets from Northern Arizona University and youth poets from Sedona Red Rock High School.

Mary D. Fisher Theatre is located at 2030 W. SR 89A, Suite A-3, in West Sedona. Tickets are $12. For tickets, call 282-1177 or visit SedonaFilmFestival.org.

The poetry slams of the season will be held Saturday, Sept. 7; Friday, Nov. 1; Saturday, Jan 25; Saturday, March 28; Saturday, April 25; and Saturday, May 23.

The prize money is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporters Jeanne and Jim Freeland.

Contact host Christopher Fox Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam early by Friday, Sept. 6, or arrive at the door by 7 p.m. Sept. 7 to sign up the day of the slam. Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive. The Sedona Poetry Slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on 12 FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004-06, 2010 and 2012-18. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

For more information, visit sedonafilmfestival.com or foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

What is Poetry Slam?

Founded at the Green Mill Tavern in Chicago in 1984 by Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport designed to get people who would otherwise never go to a poetry reading excited about the art form when it becomes a high-energy competition. 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. Slam poets have opened at the Winter Olympics, performed at the White House and at the United Nations General Assembly and were featured on “Russell Simmon’s Def Poets” on HBO.

For seven years, Sedona sent a four-poet team to National Poetry Slam, held in different cities around the United States every August. Sedona sent its first team to the 2012 NPS in Charlotte, N.C., its second to the 2013 NPS in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., and its third and fourth to Oakland, Calif., its fifth to Decatur, Ga., its sixth to Denver and its seventh to Chicago.

The Sedona National Poetry Slam Team, chosen in May, will represent the city at national events around the country in 2020.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

"A New Hand" by David 'Doc' Luben, of Portland (formerly of Prescott) at the Aug. 5, 2013 Vancouver Poetry Slam

"A New Hand" by David 'Doc' Luben, of Portland (formerly of Prescott) at the Aug. 5, 2013 Vancouver Poetry Slam

Saturday, July 20, 2019

On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing

Photojournalist Tom Hood and I were invited by Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff to cover a speech by astronaut Neil Armstrong related to the unveiling of the first images recorded by the Discovery Channel Telescope on July 20, 2012, on the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

The recording of Neil Armstrong's speech has some funny lines and beautiful imagery:
“Almost a half-century ago, some astronomers designed an experiment. The idea was deceptively simple: Compute the distance between the Earth and the moon based on the time it would take for a beam of light to travel up to a mirror located on the surface of the moon and to reflect it back to Earth.”
“I wasn’t one of the scientists on this project — I was sort of technician. My job in the experiment was to install the mirror."

“It may not be obvious why anyone would want to measure the distance to the Sea of Tranquility within 11 inches, but we had to have some way of confirming our mileage for our expense account.”
“The mirrors are expected to be busy for many years to come, which gives me enormous satisfaction as a technician on the project.” 

“From the Sea of Tranquility, the Earth hung above me 23 degrees west of the zenith, a turquoise pendant against a black velvet sky.”
“The home of the human species is not inherently restricted to Earth alone. The universe around us is our challenge and our destiny.”

“Thanks to everyone here for being a part in this civilization.”



Neil Armstrong on the moon
It turned out to be Armstrong's last public speech [and second-to-last interview; his last being with an Italian radio station] gave before his death on Aug. 25, 2012.

The video to which he referred at another speech in Australia in 2011:

Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong also left behind an American Flag, a plaque, an olive branch-shaped gold pin, messages from 73 world leaders, a patch from the Apollo 1 mission that, during a training exercise, combusted and killed three American astronauts, and medals in honor of two of the first Soviet astronauts who had died in flight.

Digitally remastered footage of the 1969 Apollo 11 moonwalk:


The video highlights of the three-hour moonwalk include a clearer picture of Neil Armstrong's descent down the stairs of the lunar module, which was taken from the Parkes Radio Observatory and the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station outside Canberra on 21 July 1969 (Australian time).
The long-forgotten video footage was uncovered during a decade-long search for the original recordings of the moonwalk, and involved lengthy detective work and clandestine meetings, says astronomer and telescope operator John Sarkissian from the CSIRO at Parkes, who headed up the search.
At the time of the Moon landing, three stations - Goldstone in California, Honeysuckle Creek in Canberra, and Parkes in New South Wales - simultaneously recorded the events onto magnetic data tape. The direct recordings were not of broadcast quality, says John, so they had to set up a regular TV camera pointed at a small black-and-white TV screen in the observatory to obtain higher-quality images that could be relayed to television stations around the world.
"Original signals weren't HD quality TV. They weren't even broadcast quality, even by 1969 standards," he says. "They were better than what was broadcast to the world; that's why we went looking for them ...".
Buzz Aldrin on the moon
The Goldstone camera settings to convert Neil's descent down the stairs were not correct and showed an image too dark to see. So the decision was made to switch to the Honeysuckle Creek footage, and after eight minutes, to the Parkes footage, which was used for the rest of the moonwalk.
It was this clearer footage, which had not been seen since 1969, that John and his search team were hoping to recover from the NASA archives, where the tapes had been sent.
Unfortunately, they hit a roadblock. "We discovered, to our horror, that in the 1970s and 80s NASA had taken the tapes in the national archive and erased them all to record other missions."
About 250,000 tapes from the Apollo era, likely including the 45 tapes of the moonwalk, are likely lost forever.
The Apollo 11 Plaque left on the lander on the moon
After some digging, they found that in the 1980s someone made a VHS tape of the Honeysuckle Creek magnetic tape, "a bootleg copy if you like, that was severely degraded," John says. A copy of that copy was given to an Apollo enthusiast who was tracked down to Sydney by the search team. This footage included a brighter and clearer version of Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong's descent to the lunar surface and was used to replace the darker Goldstone images at the start of the broadcast.
At the awards ceremony, select scenes from the entire restored video will show Neil's first step on the Moon's surface, Buzz Aldrin's decent of the lunar module ladder, the plaque reading and the raising of the U.S. flag.

Had the Apollo 11 mission failed, the White House had planned for President Richard Nixon to give this speech, which remained quietly in government archieves. The speech is heart-wrenching, even if it was never needed:

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, May 25

The Sedona Poetry Slam brings high-energy, competitive spoken word to the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Saturday, May 25, at 7:30 p.m.

A poetry slam is like a series of high-energy, three-minute one-person plays, judged by the audience. Slam poetry is an art form that allows written page poets to share their work alongside theatrical performers, hip-hop artists and lyricists. 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 and inspire the audience with their creativity.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. To compete in the slam, poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted. The poets are judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

Poets in the Sedona Poetry Slam come from as far away as Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, competing against adult poets from Sedona and Cottonwood, college poets from Northern Arizona University and youth poets from Sedona Red Rock High School.

Mary D. Fisher Theatre is located at 2030 W. SR 89A, Suite A-3, in West Sedona. Tickets are $12. For tickets, call 282-1177 or visit SedonaFilmFestival.org.

The first slam of the spring was held Saturday April 27.

The prize money is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporters Jeanne and Jim Freeland.

Contact host Christopher Fox Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam early by Friday, May 24, or arrive at the door by 7 p.m. May 25 to sign up the day of the slam. Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive. The Sedona Poetry Slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on 12 FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004-06, 2010 and 2012-18. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

For more information, visit sedonafilmfestival.com or foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

What is Poetry Slam?

Founded at the Green Mill Tavern in Chicago in 1984 by Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport designed to get people who would otherwise never go to a poetry reading excited about the art form when it becomes a high-energy competition. 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. Slam poets have opened at the Winter Olympics, performed at the White House and at the United Nations General Assembly and were featured on "Russell Simmon's Def Poets" on HBO.

For the last seven years, Sedona sent a four-poet team to National Poetry Slam, held in different cities around the United States every August. Sedona sent its first team to the 2012 NPS in Charlotte, N.C., its second to the 2013 NPS in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., and its third and fourth to Oakland, Calif., its fifth to Decatur, Ga., its sixth to Denver and its seventh to Chicago.

Unfortunately, there will be no National Poetry Slam this year due fiscal insolvency of the parent nonprofit, Poetry Slam Inc., last fall. The Sedona poetry slam, however, is doing well as it heads into its 10th year of hosting poetry slams in the Verde Valley.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, April 27


The Sedona Poetry Slam brings high-energy, competitive spoken word to the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.

A poetry slam is like a series of high-energy, three-minute one-person plays, judged by the audience. Slam poetry is an art form that allows written page poets to share their work alongside theatrical performers, hip-hop artists and lyricists. 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 and inspire the audience with their creativity.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. To compete in the slam, poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted. The poets are judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

Poets in the Sedona Poetry Slam come from as far away as Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, competing against adult poets from Sedona and Cottonwood, college poets from Northern Arizona University and youth poets from Sedona Red Rock High School.

Mary D. Fisher Theatre is located at 2030 W. SR 89A, Suite A-3, in West Sedona. Tickets are $12. For tickets, call 282-1177 or visit SedonaFilmFestival.org.

The second slam of the spring will be held Saturday May 25.

The prize money is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporters Jeanne and Jim Freeland.

Contact host Christopher Fox Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam early by Friday, April 26, or arrive at the door by 7 p.m. April 27 to sign up the day of the slam. Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive. The Sedona Poetry Slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on 12 FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004-06, 2010 and 2012-18. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

For more information, visit sedonafilmfestival.com or foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

What is Poetry Slam?

Founded at the Green Mill Tavern in Chicago in 1984 by Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport designed to get people who would otherwise never go to a poetry reading excited about the art form when it becomes a high-energy competition. 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. Slam poets have opened at the Winter Olympics, performed at the White House and at the United Nations General Assembly and were featured on "Russell Simmon's Def Poets" on HBO.

For the last seven years, Sedona sent a four-poet team to National Poetry Slam, held in different cities around the United States every August. Sedona sent its first team to the 2012 NPS in Charlotte, N.C., its second to the 2013 NPS in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., and its third and fourth to Oakland, Calif., its fifth to Decatur, Ga., its sixth to Denver and its seventh to Chicago.

Unfortunately, there will be no National Poetry Slam this year due fiscal insolvency of the parent nonprofit, Poetry Slam Inc., last fall. The Sedona poetry slam, however, is doing well as it heads into its 10th year of hosting poetry slams in the Verde Valley.