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Sedona Poetry Slam: Competitive spoken word back for 11th time

Originally Published: August 24, 2019 5:22 p.m.

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

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.

Patrick Hare

Patrick Hare was a member of three Mesa National Poetry Slam Teams. He was a pioneer in the field of poetic sarcasm before the age of snark. He has hosted more than his fair share of poetry events and featured at nearly every venue in the Phoenix Valley.

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.

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.