March 23, 2007
ALL ANSWERS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
MUCH LIKE THE LAW OF NATURE.
*3/15/07 with Rochelle Brener from Writeshere:
>1. why poetry?
Because – through poetry – I am able to rhyme the word “pelvis” with “asexual”.
> What does poetry do for you that no other form of writing can do?
Bore me to tears.
2. why performance?
Because I am able to use my pelvis, asexually.
> More specifically, why perform poetry?
It’s my duty.
3. what do you bring to poetry?
I look like the Gerber baby.
4. what (who) inspires you?
WHAT: Vipassana. Music. Experience. Food. Spiral Dynamics. Creative questions.
WHO: Remond Liesting, S.N. Goenka, Jon Berardi, Children of the Corn and Kenny Rogers.
5. where are you, physically? Where do you hail from?
Seattle, WA by way of Baytown, Texas by way of Sanborn, NY by way of [Shreveport] Louisiana.
6. how and when did you start writing poetry?
It’s a process not an event.
7. are you a full-time poet or do you have another day job?
Full-time po… I live for a living.
8. what poets influence your work?
Ween. Mike Doughty. Sage Francis. Tom. Leonard. And about 6 billion more since my inception.
> Who are you reading these days?
Derrick Brown’s I Love You Is Back is on my toilet. I read at least one poem from it every time I poop when I’m home in Seattle. On the road I’ve been reading closed captioning at the gym; Cancer in the Body Politic by Peter D. Mott; How to Eat, Move and be Healthy by Paul Chek; and familiarizing myself with the work of Don Beck who was intrumental in helping to end apartheid, and thankfully currently being utilized in the Israel/Palestine conflict.
9. how do you like life on the road?
It’s a blessing and a curse.
> Tell me about the life of the traveling poet.
I’ve painted just about every holy highway and backroad in this country with my car, I get to see a lot of old friends on a somewhat regular basis, am surrounded by people who live by the way they feel their spines, get excited to see each new stage and audience, I shit in other people’s bathrooms a lot, forget names and faces too easily, tend to get asked this broad question at least once a day, and eat from a corporate fast food chain about 7 times a year when no one’s looking.
10. who is the best poet youâ€™ve ever heard?
There’s no superlative answer to this. There are several of 100% poets in my “ever”. Ryler Dustin’s work continues to be pretty amazing to me.
* 3/18/07 with Aaron Levy from The Noise: Northern Arizona’s Arts and News Magazine:
1) Do you believe that we are now in a period of art that could be described as Post/911?
It could be described as just about anything for anybody.
Some people are post 9/11.
Some are present March 18, 2007.
Some are tomorrow people.
Iâ€™m not here to perpetuate fear-based living by classifying a beautiful life in terms like “post 9/11”. Are you? It feels narrow, and mediocre.
2) Do you feel that your performance or content has changed since 9/11 and events following that day?
Iâ€™ve referenced it once or twice. I get sick of folks pretending itâ€™s something we should all continue to regurgitate. Itâ€™s not like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Tanzania, Mozambique, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Hiroshima, Philippines, Kosovo, Bolivia, Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Dresden, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia and Iraq (to name just a few) all sit around pretending to live in â€œpost-[whenever America screwed them]â€. Many tend to respectfully move forward.
3) Do you believe that there is a responsibility of an artist to develop cultural and political awareness in their culture?
Sometimes. I donâ€™t feel like dancers carry the weight of that responsibility. Banksy kicks ass. Iâ€™d like to see more Aldo Valdezâ€™s and Banksyâ€™s. I believe itâ€™s the responsibility of the individual to develop. Don Beck isnâ€™t known for being an artist, but he develops cultural awareness on a massive scale (e.g. helping to end apartheid, or developing the Theory of Spiral Dynamics) so that people who truly give a shit have a framework from which to work and better understand people.
4) Do you believe that there are striking differences between performance based poetry and formal or academic based poetry?
Sometimes. There are striking differences between artists in any art form, or in any subset of a more popular/accepted art form.
What are they?
Thatâ€™s a circumstantial question. I donâ€™t have the blanket answer to this one.
5) Would agree that performance poetry is a performance art, a literary art, or both?
* 3/18/07 with Kenny Wisdom of Youth Center:
01. First, how do you feel about Youth being involved in performance art, specifically spoken word poetry, or hip hop?
I feel like yes.
02. You’ve worked with Youth Speaks on a few occasions, yes? Can you give us a quick run-down of what that program is, and your experiences with it?
http://www.youthspeaks.org/seattle/ can tell you what it is. My experiences with it have been incredible. Itâ€™s a far more encouraging environment than the adult circuit. They are on fire for the word. Evolution makes my geese bump.
03. When you were a kid, were there many outlets for people your age to express themselves with writing, or performance poetry at all?
04. How did you get introduced to poetry?
I introduced myself.
> What made you want to become a performer?
The need for approval of the way I learned to redeem myself. Now my reasons are more conscious and different, but – looking back – thatâ€™s why I wanted to become one.
> Who are/were some of your idols?
Iâ€™ll stick with the â€œareâ€ and prefer to refer to them as heroes:
Remond Liesting, S.N. Goenka, Jon Berardi, Guitar Repair Woman
05. How has your style changed and improved since you started?
My vibration is more centered.
> You weren’t born a 2-time National champion, right?
I won the world title, not the nationals. I was born this way.
06. To stray from the Youth questions for just a second: You’re affiliated with Sage Francis and Bernard Dolan’s Knowmore.org, correct?
No, but I tell people about them a lot.
> Can you give us all a brief introduction as to what that organization does?
If youâ€™d like to take a break from pumping your revolutionary power fist and actually make real change starting with yourself and spreading outward (ripple effect) BUY RESPONSIBLY: www.knowmore.org
Go there, type the name of any product/corporation into the search bar, and it will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about the people you buy from/support. So, for instance, if you recently paid Nike $100 to be a walking billboard for them, now you can know the kind of slave labor you support, in detail, and maybe youâ€™ll begin supporting people/companies who donâ€™t uphold the very injustices you speak out against.
07. What, in your opinion, is the greatest medium of art, media, expression, etc.? and why?
Iâ€™m uncomfortable speaking to this. There would be zero validity to it; each medium holds its own powerful purpose.
08. This past Autumn you toured with Ani DiFranco, how was that experience?
Thereâ€™s a journal entry (in the ARCHIVES) on www.buddywakefield.com called â€œThe Ani DiFranco Tourâ€. The website is being updated so it may be unavailable for a minute, but will be back up soon enough. I cover all of that there.
> Would you say it was the pinnacle of your career thus far?
It was the highlight thus far.
10. What’s more important in performance poetry, and in poetry slam competition: The poem, or the performance?
12. You run an organization called The Bullhorn Collective. What exactly is it, and what does it do for spoken word poetry?
Itâ€™s a talent agency. www.bullhorncollective.com. This site is also being re-vamped in its entirety and should be done by the end of April. It helps poets make a living doing what they love. It also currently has a full roster and is not adding anyone at this time.
13. What is your one most favorite moment in your career?
Impossible to answer. There is something called 100%. I have had a lot of 100% moments. A lot. Thatâ€™s my favorite thing.
14. Just to change it up a little bit: If you were ever to become a Father, would you encourage your child to become a poet?
I would encourage my child to become what it wants to become.
15. What’s next for Buddy Wakefield? Touring in the summer with Sage Francis, and what about after that? Another album? Book? Let the people know!
Solomon Sparrowâ€™s Electric Whale Revival national tour with Mike McGee, Anis Mojgani, Dan Leaman and Derrick Brown. Then the I am a Lagan tour in Europe with Andrea Gibson and Katie Wirsing.
16. Is there any advice you can give today’s young poets?
I usually get my advice from them.
*3/18/07 with Amy Steinberg for her upcoming book:
1.Why did you choose this way of life?
If I am ever to reside inside of happiness, I had no choice.
2. What are your most extravagant dreams?
To this I am rendered speechless by the sheer breadth of those extravagant dreamsâ€¦ Everybody wants to hug the ocean for the same reason we all burn our tongues when we drink hot cocoa, because itâ€™s just so much. I just quoted myself. Is that like masturbating in the mirror?
3. Top 3 cities or venues you like to play?
I can tell you three specific shows that stand out in my mind, but I donâ€™t have 3 favorite cities: House of Blues in New Orleans, Stubbs in Austin, Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA.
4.Best part of touring?
Iâ€™m typing my responses to this while sitting on the West Coast looking at the ocean. I did not know yesterday that it would be like this. I love that about touring.
5.Do you write on the road?
Twice, but I got busted both times.
6.Advice for newcomers to the road?
Respect Rome when in it.
> Driving, travelling tips?
Physical health plays an integral part in your sanity.
Rhymes with tummyâ€¦ kind of.
> Have any?
You with the IRS?
Iâ€™m uncomfortable when you touch me there.
8.Ever think of quitting?
I think of slowing down.
> If so, what would ya do?
I might like working in the bulk foods section of an organic foods co-op so I can get free cashews. More realistically, I would like to work at Esalen in Big Sur, or for Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics).
9.Most inspirational artist or musician to you?
Thereâ€™s a lot of 100% people in my life who all inspire me to the best degree. If youâ€™re asking me to pick just one, then today I will go with Banksy.
10.Got an inspirational quote to give to other troubadours?
â€œI have had the wind knocked out of me, but never the hurricane.â€
*3/23/07 with Nicki Escudero of The Arizona Republic:
-You’ve dedicated your life to poetry. What are the biggest challenges to being a professional poet?
I canâ€™t speak for professional poets. My challenges are my own.
– What do you suggest to overcome those?
Putting personal answers into practice.
-Where does your passion for poetry come from?
-What do you think it is about your style of poetry that has made you so successful?
Iâ€™m transparent, and itâ€™s freakishly intriguing to watch my garden grow.
-Tell me more about the Bullhorn Collective.
www.bullhorncollective.com The new website will be done in about a month, but you can still read about it there. Tylor Middlestadt of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo oversees five incredible interns who are now running the agency under the guidance of Mark Fabionar from Esalen in Big Sur, and me.
-Why is this type of agency important to poets?
Helps some of us make a living doing what we love.
-What are you looking forward to about the 4/19 show with Derrick Brown and Bill Campana?
Iâ€™m still learning to not have expectations. But Bill and Derrick will be there, so thereâ€™s almost ZERO chance of it being boring.
-Have you performed at The Paper Heart before?
I donâ€™t know.
-April is national poetry month. Why is poetry important to society?
Helps people to breathe, or to remember to remember, or to release, or… [insert infinitum]
-What can people expect from your performance on 4/19?
Derrick Brown, Bill Campana and myself doing what we do best.
-Any specific poems you’re bringing?
Human the Death Dance.
-Why would you encourage people to come out to the 4/19 show?
[insert sales pitch here]