BUDDY WAKEFIELD is an actor, writer, producer, and three-time world champion spoken word artist featured on the BBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, ABC Radio National and has been signed to both Sage Francis’ Strange Famous Records as well as Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. In 2004 he won the first Individual World Poetry Slam Finals thanks to the support of anthropologist and producer Norman Lear, then went on to share the stage with nearly every notable performance poet in the world in over 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.
Buddy has been a busker in Amsterdam, 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, a notably slow triathlete, a facilitator at Quantum Learning Network, and is the most toured performance poet in history. He is the founder of Awful Good Writers, and the producer and host of Heavy Hitters Festival 2020, a summer-long series of online shows and workshops featuring thirty of the most beloved performance poets alive.
The inaugural author released on Write Bloody Publishing, and an original Board of Directors member with Youth Speaks Seattle, Buddy is published in dozens of books internationally with work used to win multiple national collegiate debate and forensics competitions. His first short film, Farmly, directed by Jamie DeWolf, won Best of Texas at the Literally Short Film Fest, and the USA Film Festival.
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, then set out to live for a living. His aim was to tour North American poetry venues for two years. He did not stop. Wakefield, who isn’t 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.” —Amy Poehler
“Buddy Buddy Buddy Buddy, Buddy!” —Whitney Cummings
“Buddy F*!@#^g Wakefield.” —Ani DiFranco
“Hi Buddy.” —Van Jones
“Buddy Wakefield” —Reggie Watts
“Budderfield!” —Amber Tamblyn
“Wakefield!” —Utah Phillips
“Buddy Wakefield.” —Gregory Alan Isakov
“Buddy Wakefield?” —David Cross
“Buddy Wakefield.” —Saul Williams
“Buhdy” —Amy Schumer
“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
“I think he’s proof that there is a God.” —Graham Moore, Academy Award-winning writer of The Imitation Game
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.”