Sedona Poetry Grand Slam 2015


Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Mar 29, 2014 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Nov 1, 2014 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Jan 3, 2015 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Jan 31, 2015 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Mar 7, 2015 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Apr 11, 2015 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, May 2, 2015 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Jun 6, 2015 7:30 PM
Film Info
Event Type:Live Event
Run Time:2 hours


On Saturday, June 6, the best poets in Arizona will compete in the 2015 Sedona Poetry Grand Slam, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. State Route 89A, Suite A-3. The event is the biggest poetry slam of the year because the winners will go on to the national competition. Poets competed at seven slams over the last eight months, earning points through wins just to be able to compete on the Grand Slam stage.

The slam is the climax the 2015 season, when the audience will select the foursome and alternate to officially represent Sedona and the Verde Valley at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, Calif., in August. Poets in the slam come from as far away as Phoenix and Flagstaff, competing against adult poets from Sedona, college poets from Northern Arizona University, and youth poets from Sedona Red Rock High School's Young Voices Be Heard slam group.

Sedona sent its first team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., its second to the 2013 NPS in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., and its third to Oakland last year.

Some of the 12 top poets who will compete on June 6 include:

Josh Wiss
Josh Wiss is a 24-year-old poet who is bound to a lifestyle constant creativity. He attended his first poetry slam in fall 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, Wiss 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. Wiss has been to the National Poetry Slam on both the Sedona and Flagstaff teams in previous years.

Rowie Shebala
Roanna "Rowie" Shebala, a Native American spoken word artist, of the Diné – Navajo – Tribe was born and raised on the Navajo Nation. Given the gift of storytelling from her father she combines story, poetry, and performance. Shebala constantly brings the voice of her heritage into her performance, and written work often treading into spaces where hearing native voices is unlikely. In doing so, she hopes to reframe what it means to be a Native person for the masses, point out the appropriation of her people's culture, and reclaim an identity that has perverted by heavily edited versions of history, the invisibilization of indigenous peoples today, and the use of those people as caricatures for mass amusement. Shebala represented Sedona at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in March and will be be performing as a featured guest poet at New York City's Lincoln Center in August.

Tyler "Valence" Sirvinskas is a performance poet and new media artist based in Arizona. Spoken word, performance art, electronic music, and visual art are all elements of Valence's artistic vision. In 2011, he began competing in poetry slams, and represented Flagstaff at the 2011 National Poetry Slam. In 2012, he won the Sedona Grand Slam, and in 2013 secured a spot on the Sedona National Poetry Slam Team. Valence has lived in Arizona for the last decade, but was born in and spent his childhood in Chicago. Part of the last generation to know first-hand what life was like before the internet, Valence is grateful for anything that makes people silence their smartphones. In the future, Valence has plans for touring, various projects, and a new style of performance art that combines spoken word with live video and music. At only 23 years of age, he's still somewhat green but definitely done screwing around.

Frank O’Brien
A poet’s poet, Frank O’Brien writes with a profound simplicity. O’Brien won the 2008 and 2009 Flagstaff Grand Slams, and competed for Flagstaff at three national poetry slams from 2008 to 2010 and for Sedona in 2012.

Lauren Remy
Lauren Remy is an incoming senior at Sedona Red Rock High School. Remy has been a part of Sedona's youth poetry slams. People have likely seen her spitting some poetry at Java Love Café, the Sedona Arts Center and at the Sedona Poetry Slam where, despite her youth, she is a powerful voice to be reckoned with. Remy writes metaphors about fire, or flowers, or space. When she’s not spitting some radical poetry she’s being a thespian at SRRHS.

Evan Dissinger
Evan Dissinger is 24 years old and currently living in West Sedona. He has been involved with slam poetry since 2008 and has been on two national teams; 2008 with FlagSlam and again in 2012 as a member of team Sedona. Dissinger lives with one cat and is often found hunched over a canvas or cruising on a skateboard when not at his restaurant day job. Dissinger is an inquisitive Aquarius with a unique interpretation of the world around him. Dissinger caries a timid boldness that can be found reflected in his art.

The Klute
Phoenix-area crackpot Jerome du Bois once said of The Klute: "You have one of the blackest hearts I've ever had the misfortune to glimpse," so in 2007, The Klute received an upgrade. With the implantation of a freestyle bioprosthesis, The Klute now has "superior flow characteristics." His heart remains blacker than ever. The Klute, part man, part machine, all of him sarcastic, is a fixture of the Arizona poetry scene, having been on five National Slam Poetry Teams from Mesa (2002-2003, 2005-2006, and 2010) and five from Phoenix (2008-2009, 2012-2014), and is the winningest slam poet in the state. He has been published in anthologies by Write Bloody and Sergeant Press. He's a one-man psy-ops campaign bringing the system down from inside. He buys low and sells high. He keeps the Grim Reaper on speed dial and his absinthe on ice.

Christopher Fox Graham
The Sedona Poetry Grand Slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on nine FlagSlam National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2015. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

FlagSlam team members will perform between rounds at the Sedona Poetry Grand Slam.

Tickets are $12.

Slam poetry is an art form that allows written page poets to share their work alongside theatrical performers, hip-hop artists and lyricists. While many people may think of poetry as dull and laborious, a poetry slam is like a series of high-energy, three-minute one-person plays.

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. The poets will be judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

At Nationals, the Sedona National Poetry Slam Team will share the stage with 300 of the top poets in the United States, Canada and Europe. While the highlight of the event in the competition, the week is filled with writing workshops, featured performances, themed readings and a handful of "underground" poetry competitions.