Dorsey: Buddy Wakefield returns to Toledo for ‘Poetry Speaks’Written by John Dorsey | | email@example.com
It’s 2011 and a small crowd is filing into the Collingwood Arts Center’s historic Lois M. Nelson Theatre for a command performance by famed slam poet Buddy Wakefield and the energy is just awesome.
I have too admit to being a little out of touch with the national poetry slam community at that time and not really knowing much about Wakefield, who was recommended to me by Michael Grover, as someone who might draw a crowd. While the crowd that did turn out, which included city luminaries like Joe McNamara, wasn’t gigantic, they were fiercely local fans.
Flash forward a year or so later and I’m having a beer with a few graduate fellows from the University of Toledo and they start talking about which poets they can possibly bring to Toledo and Wakefield’s name comes up as someone who has a national reputation who might appeal to a very wide audience, both young and old. I tell them about my own positive experience and don’t think anything about it until about a month ago, when they tell me that Wakefield is returning to the city as the feature attraction for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library’s beloved Poetry Speaks series.
Wakefield’s return to Toledo is set for February 18, from 6-8pm in the Huntingdon Meeting room of the Main Branch Library. Local poets opening for Wakefield will include Zach Fishel, Tara Armstrong, Bob Phillips, Imani Lateef, and Ryan Bunch.
UT Graduate Fellow Ryan Duckett, who was instrumental in bringing Wakefield back to Toledo, had this to say about his experience with the famed poet and his work-
“I was first introduced to Buddy’s work by a friend and that led me to check out a number of the other artists with Bloody Write Publishing. The first thing that really struck me about his work was just this pure intensity that draws you in as both a reader and a listener. Also I love the use of extended metaphor in his work. When I was thinking about whom we could bring in, I was really selfish, because I just thought, who would I like to see? I am so proud that this is our big reading of the season.” “After this we’ll focus on some career workshops for local authors that concern things like publishing your work and getting it out there. I met with Imani Lateef recently and we talked about, what can we do? How can we make things better for the city of Toledo and its literary community?”
Wakefield is a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. He has been featured on NPR, the BBC and HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. His books include Gentleman Practice and Live for a Living, both on Write Bloody Publishing. Wakefield has toured with artists such as Derrick Brown and Anis Mojgani. He has also recorded for indie goddess Ani DifFranco’s Righteous Babe Records.
Those who are interested in sharing their poems can sign up and get more information by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org All Poetry Speaks@ Your Library events are free and open to the public. Lewd lyrics, profanity, or strong sexual content are not allowed during poetry performances. Further information is available by calling (419) 259-5218. The Main Library is located downtown at 325 Michigan Street.
Unsure about the difference between a traditional poetry and a poetry slam? No problem. Simply visit http://nps2013.poetryslam.com/ and check out their about section for future events and a little bit about the history of this interesting literary movement that has spawned superstars such as Saul Williams, Beau Sia, Jessica Care Moore, Taylor Mali and many more!!
Until next time … keep your pencil sharp.
John Dorsey is a widely published poet and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Tags: Ani DifFranco, Anis Mojgani, Beau Sia, Bob Phillips, Buddy Wakefield, Collingwood Arts Center, Derrick Brown, Glass CIty Muse, Imani Lateef, Jessica Care Moore, Joe McNamara, John Dorsey, Michael Grover, Ryan Bunch, Ryan Duckett, Saul Williams, Tara Armstrong, Taylor Mali, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Zach Fishel