Human Interest

Bernard “The Klute” Schober will be taking a bite out of the Sedona Book and Art Festival with his workshop, Slam Poetry 101.

Schober said he became involved when his friend — Russ Kazmierczak Jr., who writes and draws Amazing Arizona Comics — tipped him off to the event as a way to raise money for his favorite cause — sharks.

Through the nonprofit Fins Attached, Schober will be donating the proceeds of his book sales to help these misunderstood top predators.

Shark populations have made the news recently as a Great White South African population, one of the largest recorded, has not been seen, and is assumed to have disappeared
Schober has had a long love of sharks, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the idea of helping them took a more concrete form. He had arranged to swim with the sharks at Isla Guadalupe, off the coast of Baja Mexico. Storms pushed the dense Great White shark population too far out to sea.

The next year, he was afforded another shot, this time more or less piggybacking a ride with scientists as they attempted to learn more about the fish, which can grow to be 20 feet.

This was where he learned of Fins Attached. He had already amassed a short collection of shark poems he was using in slam competitions, and now found a way to combine his two passions.
“They do a lot of great work with sharks,” Schober said, adding that some of the equipment used in Discovery Channel’s Shark Week carries its logo.

During the workshop, Schober plans to go a little broader than just slam poetry. He will show some videos to introduce people to the art form, as well as go over poems participants bring. Performance tricks and where to perform will also be covered.

Schober’s own poetry, even without his booming voice, stands out against more typical poetry.

The shark poems cover everything from their ties to cultures such as the Hawaiians, to overfishing to a critique of naval war time.

“With shark poems I always want to bring a concept that I’m trying to explain about the sharks or from out of the sharks’ world and bring it to a form that is kind of how American’s speak,” he said.

He also covers a variety of topics that go beyond roses being red, such as the melding of the work of H.P. Lovecraft and Donald Trump’s policies, or the gangsta life of Edgar Allen Poe.

In addition to the workshop, Schober will be “storming” the Individual World Poetry Slam — competing without representing a specific town. He said that he has yet to come up with his complete list, but that it will likely contain some on his toothy friends. His poem “Testimony” — a fictional story of the workplace — is also on the list, and can be seen on YouTube.

Schober has taken to incorporating his work in other media, and said that his Trump/Lovecraft poem is the next one. He will read the poem while animation is incorporated around him.

“It’s very ‘Lovecraftian’ in its own way,” he said.

Schober will be selling his chapbook during the festival, but those who miss out can also check Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites to purchase it. Learn more about Fins Attached at

The Sedona Book and Arts Festival runs Friday through Sunday, Sept. 9 through 11, at Yavapai College Sedona Center.
Sedona Poetry Slam, Sept. 10, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Slam Poetry 101: Sept. 11, 9 to 10 a.m. Bernard Schober. Learn about poetry slam, from how it got started, to writing and performance tips.

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