Sorry, we don’t actually have photographs. We were too in the moment. Sue us.
Until now, I hadn’t realized just how much of Buddy Wakefield‘s poetry dealt with tragedy. But not in a soul-crushing, terrible way. Actually, the opposite of that. And it wasn’t quite clear until he left the stage on Thursday night.
I’ve listened and watched his material for years, ever since I got into performance poetry. Because everyone who knows performance poetry knows Buddy. He is, of course, a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and author for Write Bloody Publishing, and since the last time he came to perform on campus, he got a venue upgrade. Crowell Concert Hall was pretty impressively filled, and no surprise: the WeSlam team advertised the hell out of the event.
It was also a chance for the WeSlam team to show off their newest poetry, with which they’re currently competing this weekend. My prediction? They’ll sweep up. After having gone to the first slam last semester, I was blown away by what the team members have developed over the past few months. They were the openers, but they could have well been the main event.
Buddy is not a slam poet in that same sense, however, so the hour and a half he occupied the stage was a completely different world. Instead of confining his works to 3-minute, competition-ready pieces (which some of them are, but not many), Buddy stretches his out in every sense of the word. He walks softly past six, seven, even eight minutes, often with gorgeous, textured piano or guitar in the background. And as I’d hoped, cellist/vocalist and woman-about-campus Mel Hsu ’13 and pianist Simon Riker ’14 not only introduced Buddy but accompanied him throughout the performance. Hard to believe they improvised it all.
After the jump, read more about Buddy’s performance, and catch up on some heart-wrenching recordings of his poetry. It may just change your life, or at least make you think closer about it.