P O W E L L, W y o. - Slam poetry premieres in Powell Wednesday, April 9, when New Yorker Buddy Wakefield performs at Northwest College as part of the college's Spring Arts Festival.
Wakefield, a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, will recite his winning poetry at 8 p.m. in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium. An open-mic will be set up at 7 p.m. for those who would like to share their own poetry before Wakefield takes the stage.
A poetry slam is defined by Wikipedia as "a competition at which poets read or recite original work (or, more rarely, that of others). These performances are then judged on a numeric scale by previously selected members of the audience."
Wakefield won his first world title in 2004 and defended it a year later at the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands, against the national champions of seven European countries, with all works translated into Dutch.
He's been featured on NPR, the BBC, HBO's "Def Poetry Jam" and is currently signed to Strange Famous Records. Wakefield has read his poetry internationally from The Fillmore in San Francisco and Scotland's Oran Moore to the San Quentin State Penitentiary, and the House of Blues in New Orleans.
It's possible his poetry resonates with so many because he's lived the life of so many. Born in Shreveport, La., mostly raised in Baytown, Texas, and now claiming Seattle, Wash., as home, Wakefield has been a busker in Amsterdam, a lumberjack in Norway, a street vendor in Spain, team leader in Singapore, re-delivery boy, candy maker, street sweeper, bartender, maid, construction worker, manager of a CD store, bull rider and booking agent.
In 2001, he left his position as the executive assistant at a biomedical firm in Gig Harbor, Wash., sold or gave away everything he owned, and "moved to the small town of Honda Civic (home is his car) and set out to live for a living, touring North American poetry venues."
His work has been published internationally and has been used to win national collegiate forensics competitions. He's known for delivering "raw, rounded, high vibration performances of humor and heart."
Admission to his performance in Powell is free of charge. This program is just one of the art events scheduled during the April 7-10 Spring Arts Festival at Northwest. Click here for information about other events.