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Sedona Poetry Slam
The Sedona Poetry Slam returns for its 14th season Saturday, Sept. 17. Performance poets will bring high-energy, competitive spoken word to the Mary D. Fisher Theatre starting at 7:30 p.m.
A poetry slam is like a series of high-energy, three-minute one-person plays, judged by the audience. Anyone can sign up to compete in the slam 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.
Slam poetry is an art form that allows written page poets to share their work alongside theatrical performers, hip-hop artists and lyricists. Poets 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. 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.
This will be the first Sedona poetry slam without the iconic Bernard “The Klute” Schober, a 49-year-old Phoenix poet who died suddenly on July 18. A competitor of more than 20 years who often won the Sedona slam, Klute represented Sedona on two National Poetry Slam teams and brought humorous, dramatic and political poetry to the stage in equal measure. His poetry also conveyed his passion for shark conservation, and he donated his winnings and book sales to shark conservation nonprofits.
The poetry slams of the season will be held Saturdays, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, and Dec. 10, in 2022, and Saturdays Jan. 28, April 1, and May 13, in 2023.
The prize money is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporters Jeanne and Jim Freeland.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up early to compete or by the Friday before the slam or at the door the day of the slam. Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive.
What is Poetry Slam?
Founded at the Green Mill Tavern in Chicago in 1984 by construction worker 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 Simmons’ Def Poets” on HBO.
Sedona has sent four-poet teams to represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., Boston, Cambridge, Mass., Oakland, Calif., Decatur, Ga., Denver and Chicago.
Tickets are $12. For tickets and more information, please call 928-282-1177. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona.