NORAZ Poets

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NORAZ Poets is a nonprofit poetry organization based in Northern Arizona now aimed at youth and senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

It was founded in Sedona, Arizona in 2003 by the late poet Christopher Lane, who served as the organization's executive director until his death in August 2012. The group is run by a seven-member advisory board.

The group ran weekly poetry open mics, biweekly and monthly poetry slams, poetry workshops, featured poetry readings, poet in residence programs in Northern Arizona high schools, maintained a Web site with a calendar of events and several book partnerships, which sold local poets' work in Northern Arizona bookstores. The group networked two poetry slams: FlagSlam in Flagstaff and VerdeSlam Sedona, Arizona and has a reputation in the national slam poetry scene for treating touring poets with great respect, with booking events, transportation to and from performances and venues, and lodging at the homes of members of the local poetry community.

Poetry organizers in Northern Arizona had sent slams teams to the National Poetry Slam since 2001, officially representing Flagstaff, although the team's members were from various parts of the region. Between early 2004 and mid-2007, the team competed in local, regional and national poetry slams under the banner "Team NORAZ".

NORAZ Poets is one of the only rural and regional poetry organizations in the United States.

The organization earned nonprofit tax status in February 2005.

In March 2005, NORAZ Poets created the Alzheimer's Poetry Project Arizona Assignment (a branch of the national Alzheimer's Poetry Project).

Some of the poets affiliated with the group include Robin John Anderson, Jordan Sebastian Bonner, Mary Carvell Bragg, the late Rochelle Brener, Portlin Cochise, Rebekah Crisp, Patrick David DuHaime, Gary Every, Jen Valencia, Josh Fleming, Dom Flemons, Nick Fox, Karyl Goldsmith, Jesse Dyllan Grace, Christopher Fox Graham, Andy "War" Hall, Dee Hamilton, Brent Heffron, Mary Heyborne, Cass J. Hodges, Aaron Johnson, Jarrod Masseud Karimi, Erik John Karpf, Suzy La Follette, John Raymond Kofonow, the late Christopher Lane, Eric Larson, David "Doc" Luben, William Mawhinney, Douglas McDaniel, Karen Guevara, Logan Phillips, John Reid, Betteanne Rutten, David Ward and Mikel Weisser.

In mid-2007, NORAZ Poets effectively ceased its poetry slam activities. Flagstaff area poetry slam events were then taken up by FlagSlam, led by Ryan Brown, John Cartier, Frank O'Brien, Jessica Guadarrama, Dana Sakowicz, Kamryn Henderson, among others. Sedona and Verde Valley area poetry slam events were then taken up by Gary Every and Christopher Fox Graham.

NORAZ Poets uses its 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit umbrella for the Young Voices Be Heard and Alzheimer's Poetry Project Arizona Assignment Projects.

Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Teams[edit]

In 2001, as Team Flagstaff at the 11th National Poetry Slam in Seattle, Washington:

In 2002, as Team Flagstaff at the 12th National Poetry Slam in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

  • Grand Slam Champion: Suzy La Follette
  • Logan Phillips
  • Andy "War" Hall
  • Dom Flemons
  • Alternate: Jarrod Masseud Karimi (but left the team before the National Poetry Slam)
  • Coach and alternate: John Raymond Kofonow

In 2003, as Team Flagstaff at the 13th National Poetry Slam in Chicago, Illinois:

  • Grand Slam Champion: Suzy La Follette
  • Logan Phillips
  • Cass Hodges
  • Dom Flemons
  • Alternate: Julie Hudgens (but left the team before the National Poetry Slam)
  • Coach and alternate: John Raymond Kofonow

National Poetry Slam Teams represented by NORAZ Poets[edit]

In 2004: as Team NORAZ at the 14th National Poetry Slam in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Grand Slam Champion: Christopher Fox Graham
  • Eric Larson
  • Logan Phillips
  • Brent Heffron
  • Coaches: Mary Guaraldi, Christopher Lane and John Raymond Kofonow

In 2005: as Team NORAZ at the 15th National Poetry Slam in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

  • Grand Slam Champion: Christopher Lane
  • Logan Phillips
  • Christopher Fox Graham
  • Meghan Jones
  • Aaron Johnson
  • Coaches: Mary Guaraldi and John Raymond Kofonow

In 2006: as Team NORAZ at the 16th National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas.

  • Aaron Johnson
  • Christopher Fox Graham
  • Meghan Jones
  • Al Moyer
  • Justin "Biskit" Powell
  • Coaches: Greg Nix and John Raymond Kofonow