Buddy Wakefield, the two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion known for wordplay that stretches reality beyond ordinary limits, has shaped the art of spoken word with a fierce truth that touches the soul. Flavorpill sat down with him recently to get acquainted with the guy who left his position as the executive assistant at a biomedical firm in 2001, gave away everything he owned, moved into his car, and set out to “live for a living,” touring North American poetry venues. One thing led to another, and now he’s one of 20 featured live performers at our Yoga at The Great Lawn event on June 22.
Read on for a hint of what goes into his performances, and if you really want to find out what could make us laugh, cry, and scream simultaneously, get there early to catch him up close next Tuesday in Central Park.
Do you. “I’m excited to just get to be who I am onstage. When I go to see an opening act, I have no expectations — I just want to get my seat. And I don’t think [the audience] has expectations for somebody to come out and lay it all on the table. I think it’s a surprise and it’s welcomed.”
Follow through. “There’s a huge difference between knowing and practicing. I’ll talk to someone about meditation, and they’ll say, ‘Oh I know, I know, it’s just great.’ But there’s no practice there. That’s what’s going to cause personal revolution. Where I’m excited for my work to go now is finding an eloquent way to put into practice that which we know will make us better — the unfolding joy of practicing and not just the stagnant knowing.”
Be here now. “I just want to thrive now, you know? I spent so much time making myself better and I’d really like to enjoy that which is better. And learn how to dissolve that weighted heavy center that keeps me going, ‘OK, what do I need to make better today?’ No way, man.”
Pay it forward. “I want to pull the next one up. I come from some really dark places, and I’m speaking with hopefully a universal voice, and I want that universal voice to dig deep enough to attract and pull up those who are really struggling — don’t have the coping tools, haven’t had a voice. And I want to leave clear writing on the wall, and then in all that audaciousness, hope that it makes somebody’s day.”
Watch clips of Wakefield in action below, and register now for your chance to see him live next week.
Elephant Engine High Dive Revival
The Information Man