BUDDY WAKEFIELD is a three-time world champion spoken word artist featured on the BBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, ABC Radio National and signed to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. In 2004 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Finals thanks to the support of anthropologist and producer Norman Lear then successfully defended that title at the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands against the national champions of seven European countries with works translated into Dutch.
In 2005 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship again and has gone on to share the stage with nearly every notable performance poet in the world in 2000+ venues internationally from The Great Lawn of Central Park, Zimbabwe’s Shoko Festival and Scotland’s Oran Mor to San Quentin State Penitentiary, House of Blues New Orleans and The Basement in Sydney, Australia.
In the spring of 2001 Buddy left his position as the executive assistant at a biomedical firm in Gig Harbor, WA, sold or gave away everything he owned, moved to the small town of Honda Civic and set out to live for a living, touring North American poetry venues through 2003. He never stopped.
Born in Shreveport, LA, largely raised in Baytown, TX, having spent most of his career based in Seattle, WA, now claiming Los Angeles, CA as home, Buddy has been a busker in Amsterdam, a lumberjack in Norway, a street vendor in Spain, a team leader in Singapore, a re-delivery boy, a candy maker, a street sweeper, a bartender, a maid, a construction worker, a bull rider, an incredibly slow triathlete and a facilitator at Quantum Learning Network. He loves peanut butter, power napping, chopping wood and Vipassana meditation. Wakefield is a writer, elated son of a guitar repair woman, wingman of Giant Saint Everything and pays attention.
An author at Write Bloody Publishing, a queer activist and an original Board of Directors member with Youth Speaks Seattle, Buddy is published internationally in dozens of books with work used to win multiple national collegiate debate and forensics competitions. Wakefield, who is not concerned with what poetry is or is not, delivers raw, rounded, disarming performances of humor and heart.
“Buddy Wakefield!” –Norman Lear
“Buddy Wakefield…” –Mos Def
“Buuuddy Wakefield.” – Amy Poehler
“Buddy F*!@#^g Wakefield.” –Ani DiFranco
“Buddy Wakefield” –Flavorpill
“Budderfield!” –Amber Tamblyn
“Wakefield!” –Utah Phillips
“Buddy Wakefield.” –Gregory Alan Isakov
“Buddy Wakefield?” –David Cross
“Buddy Wakefield.” –Saul Williams
“Bobby was it?” –Tilda Swinton
“Buddy Wakefield is an unbullshit artist… and he’ll make you laugh your ass off while he does it.” -Gabrielle Bouliane
“Buddy Wakefield is a honey badger. Lions will go completely out of their way to avoid a honey badger.” -Don Beck, Theory of Spiral Dynamics
In her book, Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam, New York Times best-selling author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz named Wakefield “the modern poetry slam role model.” She wrote, “…[Wakefield] sold everything he owned and toured the country, living out of his car when he wasn’t crashing on couches. He was not the first slam poet to do this and certainly not the last, but he was definitely the most high-profile, and he really set the stage for what I like to call the ‘Troubadour Movement’ in slam, the whole desire simply to tour, to reach out and be with your community.”
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In the Fall of 1984 Anchor Bay Entertainment released a movie called Children of the Corn while Buddy lived in front of the corn fields near Niagara Falls, NY. This traumatic event (coupled with extensive exposure to Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie) may or may not have led to Buddy becoming a sensitive poet wuss who plays marbles in the trees, listens by watching and keeps fingers on pulse. His interests include cephalopods, untrembling and cheering on exhausted runners. HI MOM!