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.

Christopher Fox Graham's biography

Christopher Fox Graham

Short Bio (for press releases):

Christopher Fox Graham is a poet and professional writer living in Sedona, Arizona.
Beginning his performance poetry career in October 2000, Graham has been a member of six Flagstaff National Poetry Slam teams, representing Flagstaff in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 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.
Graham won the Flagstaff Poetry Grand Slam championship in 2004 and 2012.
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 featuring local art and artists over three days.
Graham was an a featured performer at the invitation-only 2012 Desert Rocks Music Festival, which featured acts like Brother Ali, Beats Antique and The Wailers.
In 2008, he founded the Sedona Poetry Slam and became a slammaster in 2012, sponsoring the inaugural Sedona National Poetry Slam, whose five poets will perform at the National Poetry Slam Team in Charlotte, N.C., in 2012.
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 short documentaries on the Sedona art scene.
Graham has performed for MTV's "Made" and on The Travel Channel's "Your Travel Guide" episode of Sedona. He has performed poetry 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.

From AZPoetrypedia

Christopher Fox Graham is a poet and professional writer living in Sedona, Arizona. Also known as CFG, Graham has been a member of six National Poetry Slam teams, representing Flagstaff in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012.

Graham is slammaster of the Sedona slam poetry scene.

Graham was part of the Save the Male Tour, a four-man international spoken word tour in 2002.

Over the years, Graham has become known as one of the most highly competitive, statistically obsessive slam poets in Northern Arizona. This competitive streak has often caused strife among other slam poets in Northern Arizona.

Graham has repeatedly stated that "all slam poets are Jedis." In keeping with this, Graham has contributed to training "youngling slam poets" in Northern Arizona through Erus/Parvalas Mentorship and his Treatise on Slam Strategy.

Graham has performed for MTV's "Made" and on The Travel Channel's "Your Travel Guide" episode of Sedona. He has performed poetry in nearly 40 states, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain.

Biography

The infant Christopher Fox Graham with Frank Leslie
"Buster" Redfield, the subject of "We Call Him Papa," in 1979
Christopher Fox Graham was born in Sheridan, Montana on March 12 1979 to Sylvia L. Graham, a registered nurse, and Bruce A. Graham, a high school mathematics teacher and girls basketball coach. Bruce Graham later took a job as the head minor league athletic trainer for the Great Falls Giants, a Triple A minor league baseball team of the San Francisco Giants. The family moved to the Phoenix area in 1985 when Bruce Graham was promoted to work with the Phoenix Firebirds as head trainer.
Graham was a foreign exchange student in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany in the summer of 1997, attending the Musikgymnasium der Regensburger Domspatzen and the St. Marien Gymnasium und Realschule.
CFG graduated from Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona, in May 1997, and attended Arizona State University with plans to major in physics.

Fox the Poet

Graham's poetic mentor was Sally Y, (formerly Sally Y Allen), a poet, author and performance artist, and author of It was magic: The Kathryn Gammage stories.
The relationship Graham and Y developed as young poet student and older, mature mentor Graham would later expand on a series of essays on the concept of Erus/Parvalas and Eras/Parvalus Mentorship, wherein a mentor poet takes on a apprentice poet of the opposite sex to discuss art, poetry and the artistic life through the direct confrontation in the differences between age, gender, experience, maturity, goals and artistic passions.
Christopher Fox Graham competed in his first poetry slam at the Essenza Coffeehouse on October 20 2000.
Graham was a member of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Steering Committee from 2000 to 2001.

Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team, 2001

Graham was a founding member of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team along with Nick Fox, Josh Fleming, Christopher Lane, alternate "A-rek" Dye, and coach Andy "War" Hall.
Graham earned a bachelor's degree in English and minor in history from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona in May 2001.
Graham moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in August 2001. After the 2001 National Poetry Slam in Seattle, Washington, Graham became [Slam Master] of the [Flagstaff Poetry Slam] until May 2002.

Save the Male Tour

From May to July 2002, Christopher Fox Graham, Josh Fleming, playwright and actor David f. Escobedo and guitarist Keith Brueckner traveled the United States and Canada as the "Save the Male Tour." The four men conducted a spoken word tour that performed original work at 38 shows in 26 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Features included:
       New York City’s Nuyorican Poets Café.
       Chicago’s Green Mill, the birthplace of poetry slam.
       Boston’s Cantab Lounge.
       The 2002 International Buskerfest in Toronto.
       The New School Project in Bisbee, Arizona.
Other cities included Long Beach, Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., Las Vegas, Nev., Flagstaff, Ariz., Albuquerque, N.M., Chicago, Ill., Des Moines, Iowa, St. Louis, Mo., Detroit, Mich., Portland, Me., New York City, N.Y., Baltimore, M.D., and Dallas, Texas.
Graham returned to Tempe, Arizona, in 2002. He was a finalist for the Mesa Grand Slam in 2003.
Graham attended the 2003 National Poetry Slam in Chicago, Ill., where he served as a Bout Manager for four preliminary bouts.

Poetry in Sedona

In March 2004, Graham moved to Sedona, Arizona to serve as the Board Treasurer and Touring Poet Liaison for [NORAZ Poets], a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Christopher Lane. He served until November 2005.
In April 2004, Graham started Random Acts of Poetry, at Random Acts of Coffee, a coffeehouse located in West Sedona. The clientèle was predominately teenagers many of whom read at least once before the coffeeshop closed on July 5, 2004. The Sedona Poetry Open Mic continued after the venue closed. For almost two years, Graham hosted the open mic at the outdoor stage at Szechuan Martini Bar in West Sedona. Greg Nix was his co-host for approximately nine months. Graham currently co-hosts the Sedona Poetry Open Mic, at Java Love Cafe, 2155 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona, at 7:30 p.m. on second and fourth Tuesdays. Matthew Horstman is Graham's current co-host.
In August 2004, Christopher Fox Graham became Senior Copy Editor of the Sedona Red Rock News. Graham quickly won the 2004 Larson Newspapers Editorial Person of the Year. Beginning in December 2004, he also became the newspaper's arts reporter. Graham began a weekly column, "Sedona Underground," that chronicled the city's underground artists and events in the art scene. Graham wrote 120 columns by the time he left the newspaper in April 2008. Graham is member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Copy Editors Society.

NORAZ Poets National Slam Team, 2004

Christopher Fox Graham winning the 2004
NORAZ Poets Grand Slam
Graham won the 2004 NORAZ Poets Grand Slam, held at the Orpheum Theatre on April 24, 2004. He later captained the NORAZ Poets Slam Team, which consisted of Eric Larson, Logan Phillips and Brent Heffron.
The team competed at the National Poetry Slam in St. Louis, Mo.
Graham won second place in the 2005 and 2006 Arizona Newspapers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest, for Best Headline, Division 2 non-daily circulation 3,500 to 10,000 circulation. Graham won the 2007 Arizona Newspapers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest, first place Community Service/Journalistic Achievement, Division 2 non-daily circulation 3,500 to 10,000 circulation, shared with Larson Newspapers and reporters Nate Hansen and Tyler Midkiff for stories exposing “Gabriel of Sedona” and Global Community Communications Alliance.
Christopher Fox Graham joined the city of Sedona Youth Commission in May 2005. He served as co-chairman from June 2006 to commission’s disbandment in August 2008.

NORAZ Poets National Slam Team, 2005

Graham took third place at the 2005 NORAZ Poets Grand Slam, joining the team of Christopher Lane, Logan Phillips, Meghan Jones, and Aaron Johnson. The team won the 5th annual Arcosanti Slab City Slam, the state poetry tournament, by more than 14 points in May.
The team competed at the National Poetry Slam in Albuquerque, N.M.

The 2006 NORAZ Poets slam team collapse

Graham took second place at the 2006 NORAZ Poets Grand Slam, joining the team of Justin "Biskit" Powell, Meghan Jones, Logan Phillips and Aaron Johnson. Mary Guaraldi, John Kofonow, and Greg Nix were the team's coaches. The 2006 team was noted for its internal conflicts and its eventual fracture as a team. Graham and Jones consistently argued over strategy, style, tactics, and the team's group poems. Phillips and Kofonow (who was also Jones' boyfriend) often sided with Jones, while Nix and Johnson often sided with Graham.
This often non-confrontational Powell in the uncomfortable position as the deciding vote.

The team came in fifth at the Arcosanti Slab City City Slam and came in fourth in a four-team regional bout in Sedona in July. Shortly before nationals, the confrontation escalated and Jones and Kofonow quit the team. NORAZ Poets Executive Director Christopher Lane kicked Graham off the team and out of NORAZ Poets the next day.
Graham retired from Arizona's slam scene until August 2008.

Sedona Poetry Slam Leader

GumptionFest's organizaers in 2007
In 2006, bass guitarist Dylan Jung created GumptionFest, a grassroots arts festival in Sedona that took place at five venues. Graham served as poetry coordinator for the 2006 and 2007 festivals. The festivals were held June 6, 2006, June 10, 2007, and Sept. 6, 2008. In 2008, Graham was co-Executive Director.

GumptionFest has since taken place in September 2009, 2010 and 2011, all of which now also include the highly popular GumptionFest Haiku Death Match, hosted by Graham in a ridiculous outfit.

The festival regularly features more than 100 artists and brings in 1,200 to 1,400 visitors.
In October 2006, Graham and Greg Nix cofounded Sedona's 510 Poetry, a poetry collective designed to be the face of poetry in Sedona as an alternative to Christopher Lane and NORAZ Poets.
Graham also began collaborating on guerrilla arts activities with a former Sedona Red Rock News reporter, Nate Hansen.
Graham resigned as Larson Newspapers copy editor in April 2008. On May 1, 2008, Christopher Fox Graham became the managing editor of Kudos, a weekly arts and entertainment publication of the Verde Independent, based in Cottonwood, Arizona. He was also managing editor of The Villager, a weekly news publication in the Village of Oak Creek. From July to November 2008 Graham was a freelance copywriter and social media consultant for Charlotte Howard SEO & Sedona Web Design.
Graham signaled his return to state slam scene by winning the FlagSlam on Sept. 24, 2008. He featured at FlagSlam on Oct. 8, 2008.
Graham was asked to return to Larson Newspapers as Assistant News Editor in September 2009 and returned in early October. He was promoted to Assistant Managing Editor under Managing Editor Trista Steers on April 4, 2010.

Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team, 2010

Four Arizona teams at the National Poetry Slam in 2010
Graham earned points to compete for the 2010 Flagstaff Poetry Slam Team but did participate enough in 2009-10 not qualify. He volunteered as a venue manager for the 2010 National Poetry Slam in St. Paul, Minn.

The day before the slam, he was asked to fill the Flagstaff teams fourth slot. He joined Ryan Brown, Frank O'Brien and Brian Towne.

Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team, 2012

The 2012 Flagstaff Poetry Slam Team consists of Slammaster Ryan
Brown, left, Christopher Fox Graham, Shaun "Nodalone" Srivistava,
Tara Pollock and Jackson Morris (not pictured).
Graham competed for the 2012 Flagstaff Poetry Slam Team and won the Grand Slam championship in April 2012.

The 2012 Flagstaff Poetry Slam Team consists of Graham, Slammaster Ryan Brown, Tara Pollock and Shaun "Nodalone" Srivistava. Alternate Jackson Morris was promoted to a full, fifth member of the team in May.

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team, 2012

Graham registered the first Sedona National Poetry Team in 2012 and serves as slammaster.

The 2012 Sedona Poetry Slam Team, decided June 16, 2012, consists of Grand Slam Champion Tyler "Valence" Sirvinskas, Evan Dissinger, Frank O'Brien, Josh Wiss and Spencer Troth.

Christopher Fox Graham's poetry

Christopher Fox Graham's early work was noted for its romantic elements. Most of his early slam poetry consisted of unrequited love poems, often rife with Greek and Roman mythology or allusions to classical literature.
Graham's breakthrough poem was Raver Girl, a piece about poet Technicolor Holly. Afterward, Graham's work is devoid of obscure references, instead focusing on tactile human experiences, relationships, and occasional humor. The poem that marked his early highlight was Manifesto of an Addict, a poem describing Graham's "addiction to humanity" equating the experience to that of a drug addict.
Graham's work continued to grow and develop, but it wasn't until he won the 2004 NORAZ Poets Grand Slam that he felt satisfied with the quality of his work. As his competitive streak lessened, his work matured and became introspective. The clearest representation of this maturity is in We Call Him Papa a eulogy written for his maternal grandfather Frank Leslie "Buster" Redfield, who died Oct. 31, 2004. Graham performed the poem at the funeral service in Opheim, Montana. Other poems from this era include The Days Keep Counting Down, The Cost of Dynamite, In the Corners of This Room, A Moment in Albuquerque."
The year 2008 also marked a major shift in Graham's work. He resigned from Larson Newspapers and was hired as Managing Editor of Kudos. After two months, he was terminated without cause. He left journalism to pursue freelance writing and new media consulting. His work was noticeably freer and more personal, such as in Swallow a Fistful of Dynamite and She Only Loves Me When the Bars close Graham also spent a month in Ireland, which profoundly changed his perception on his ancestry Citizen of the Irish Diaspora.
Graham's humor is also well known on the slam scene. One of his best known performance poems is The Peach is a damn sexy fruit, a diatribe on the "sexiness" of the peach, presented with the cockiness of a college lecture, or Breakfast Cereal another love poem related to food. He has also been known for humorous performances at showcases, such as performing Beowulf in the original Old English at a cover slam.
Graham's "signature poems" have included:
       Manifesto of an Addict, performed at the 2001 National Poetry Slam as a trio poem along with [Nick Fox] and [Christopher Lane]. The poem was the team's highest ranked piece at nationals.
       He Needs It Bad, essentially a listing poem targeted at a specific member of the audience or another competing poet. The poem was initially targeted at John Kofonow but was later used in competition against Corbet Dean, Brent Heffron, and Josh Fleming.
       English Major, a bombastic poem about the "ability to bullshit".
       We Call Him Papa.

2012 Sedona Mayoral Campaign

Christopher Fox Graham's long-term goals include running for mayor of Sedona in 2012. Although a serious plan, his platform and goals seem to be in the vein of Hunter S. Thompson's 1969 campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colo.

Slam Strategy

Christopher Fox Graham's Treatise on Slam Strategy: The basic approach to the art of competitive performance poetry is a lengthy guidebook for first-time and non-slammers to develop their poetic voice in the slam scene. The piece is directly influenced by the concept of Erus/Parvalas and Eras/Parvalus Mentorship in teaching youngling poets and artists expression through teaching experience and shared real-world contact.
From the prologue:
"Art slammers" "Art slammers" try to remain pure to the emotion that inspired the poem. They believe that the quality of poem alone will win the day, regardless of the tactics or strategy. They often quote Allan Wolf, “The point is not the points, the point is the poetry.” They write and perform for themselves. “Craft slammers” “Craft slammers” try to choose which poems to slam to win. They disengage from the emotion when deciding what poems to perform then lock into that emotion when on stage. They often quote Taylor Mali, “The point is not the points, the point is to have more points than anyone else.” They write and perform for the audience. Art Slammers consider themselves “poets true to the art of poetry.” Craft Slammers consider themselves “poets true to the art of slam.” Art Slammers are accused of being pretentious, arrogant or taking themselves too seriously. Art slammers must be careful not to take scores personally, but rather, examine the tactics of performing the wrong poem at the wrong time. Craft Slammers are accused of being insincere about their poetry and only slamming to win. Craft Slammers must be careful not to lose their passion for poetry and write only slam poems. Neither school of poetry is more right. Keep a balance so that you do not become too craft: a stylized performer who rarely steps out of your comfort zone, nor too art: so anti-competition that you don't see slam as fun.
Graham also expands on the concept of slam strategy as a game and art for through his Squidoo page on performance poetry.
Graham's kryptonite.

Published Works

       The Opposite of Camouflage, 2012, Christopher Fox Graham Press.
       A Hobo and A Poet, limited edition only, 2011, Christopher Fox Graham Press.
       The Collared Peccary: The poetry of Northern Arizona, Vol. 3, Issue 1, poetry anthology, Fall/Winter 2005/06, Woodley & Watts.
        Sin Nombre: The 2005 NORAZ Poets National Poetry Slam Team, chapbook, 2005, NORAZ Poets Press
       2005 NORAZ Poetry Grand Slam, DVD, 2005, NORAZ Poets Press.
       The Collared Peccary: The poetry of Northern Arizona, Vol. 2, Issue 1, poetry anthology, Spring/Summer 2005, Woodley & Watts.
       The Collared Peccary: The poetry of Northern Arizona, Vol. 1, Issue 1, poetry anthology, Fall/Winter 2004/05, Woodley & Watts.
       Seldom Silent: The NORAZ Slam Team, chapbook, 2005, NORAZ Poets Press.
       Vibrantly Verbal: 2004 NORAZ Grand Slam, Orpheum Theatre, Flagstaff Arizona, DVD, 2004, NORAZ Poets Press.
       Square Root of the Word, chapbook, 2004, Christopher Fox Graham Press.
       EssenzaSlam Vol. 2, the 2003 Slamoff, CD anthology, featuring 2 of CFG's poems, 2003, Anthology Inc.
       Sonnets... (the full title is "Sonnets to listen to by an open fire, perhaps while in the embrace of a lover. A good lover. Not some cheap one-night stand lover, or its your ex and it's just spiteful sex. Maybe Sinatra will be playing in the background. Or maybe world-renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma. You'll have just finished up feeding each other brie and grapes followed by a white blush wine. 1961? No, 1953. A good year indeed. Sure, it was the Cold War and we were at a political standstill with Cuba and Russia, but the wine was always good, wasn't it?"), CD featuring Josh Fleming and CFG, 2002, Christopher Fox Graham Press.
       I've Seen You Naked (Please Don't Call the Police), chapbook, 2002, Christopher Fox Graham Press.
       NAZ Northern Arizona: the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team, chapbook, 2001, Christopher Fox Graham Press.
       Just Be, chapbook, 2001, Christopher Fox Graham Press.

Awards

       2012, Dylan Thomas Award for Excellence in the Written and Spoken Word.
       2012, Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team member.

       2012, Flagstaff Grand Slam Champion.
       2011, Best Headline, second place, 3,000-10,000 circulation, Arizona Newspapers Association.
       2010, Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team member.
       2010, Best Headline, first place, 3,000-10,000 circulation, Arizona Newspapers Association.
       2010, Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team member.
       2008, Yavapai College Poetry Slam Champion.
       2007, Best Headline, second place, 3,000-10,000 circulation, Arizona Newspapers Association.
       2007, Community Service & Journalistic Achievement, first place, 3,000-10,000 circulation, Arizona Newspapers Association.
       2006, NORAZ Poets National Poetry Slam Team member.
       2005, NORAZ Poets Arizona All-Star Slam Champion.
       2005, NORAZ Poets National Poetry Slam Team member.
       2004, Editorial Person of the Year, Larson Newspapers.
       2004, NORAZ Poets National Poetry Slam Team captain.

       2004, NORAZ Poets Grand Slam Champion.
       2003, Mesa Grand Slam finalist.
       2002, Flagstaff Grand Slam finalist.
       2001, Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team member.

External Links