Sedona Poetry Slam: August


Mary D. Fisher Theatre Thu, Aug 20, 2015 7:30 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Aug 20, 2016 7:30 PM


Sedona Poetry Slam hosts iWPS qualifier

Slam poets will assemble for the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Aug. 20, to choose Sedona’s representative for the 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam. Poets are invited to compete at the first slam of the 2016-17 season, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. Tickets are $12. Contact host Christopher Fox Graham at to sign up to slam.

Individual World Poetry Slam
FlagSlam and Poetry Slam Inc. international nonprofit present the 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam, known as iWPS, the four-day poetry slam festival from Wednesday to Saturday, Oct. 12 to 15, created by PSi giving poets the opportunity to compete outside of a team competition for the title of the Individual World Poetry Slam champion. The ninth annual event will bring world acclaimed feature performers, poetry and performance workshops, specialty slams, open mics and events for all ages to Flagstaff.

The contenders will hail from every major North American city including Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Vancouver, Canada, as well as countries around the world such as Australia, France and Germany. Participants will compete in two days of preliminary competitions, culminating in a final clash of the top 12 on the final stage.

The festival will host a slew of side events and workshops, including the ever popular Nerd Slam, featuring poetry focused on comic books, fantasy, science, engineering, science fiction and anime, hosted by Phoenix poet Bernard “The Klute” Schober and featuring panelists like lightsaber-armed “Star Wars” nerd specialist Graham.
The slam will also pick the winning poet who will represent Sedona at the Arizona Poetry Society annual conference in November.
What is Poetry Slam?
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 and inspire the audience with their creativity.

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’s Young Voices Be Heard slam group.

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 who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive. The prize money is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporters Jeanne and Jim Freeland.

The Sedona Poetry Slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on nine FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004-06, 2010 and 2012-16. Graham has hosted the Sedona Poetry Slam since 2009.

The slam is the first of the 2016-17 season, which will culminate in selection of Sedona’s sixth National Poetry Slam Team, the foursome and alternate who will represent the city and the Verde Valley at the National Poetry Slam in Denver in August 2017.
The final Grand Poetry Slam takes place next spring to determine the team. The poets who make the team to represent Sedona will share the stage at the week-long National Poetry Slam with 350 of the top poets in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Sedona sent its five-poet 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., and the fifth to Decatur, Ga.

Founded in Chicago in 1984 by construction worker Marc Smith, 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.