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K-State Today

March 2, 2011

Slam jam: Poet Buddy Wakefield performing solo March 16 at Nichols Theater

By Emily Vietti

Three-time individual world poetry slam champion Buddy Wakefield is making a stop at Kansas State University as part of his 2011 Gentleman Practice National Tour, his last such tour for awhile.

His show will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, in K-State's Nichols Theater. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and is first come, first served. The performance is sponsored by the provost's office, Student Government Association, Speech Unlimited, department of English and Lamda Pi Eta communications studies honor society.

Wakefield has been featured on NPR, the BBC and HBO's Def Poetry Jam and more, and he has been signed to Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe Records.

Poetry wasn't always Wakefield's vocation. In spring 2001 he left his job with a biomedical firm in Washington to begin what would become a 28-month performance tour of just about every poetry venue in North America. In 2004 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Finals, which he credits to the support of anthropologist and producer Norman Lear. He then successfully defended his title in 2005 at the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands, against the national champions of seven European countries. He has gone on to share the stage with nearly every notable performance poet in the world and in such venues as the House of Blues in New Orleans, the Great Lawn in New York's Central Park and Oran Mor in Scotland.

Wakefield's latest tour is named for his recently released book, "Gentleman Practice." For the tour he has decided to go back to basics, doing things much the way he started: driving his own car from venue to venue and organizing all aspects of the tour himself.

"I want to keep things personal this time," Wakefield said, adding that the return to his roots provides him an opportunity to reflect on his decade of life on the road.

Wakefield's K-State performance will be preceded by an open microphone for two to three local poets who would like to share their work. If interested in performing, e-mail Chandler Johnson at csj@k-state.edu before Friday, March 11.

More information about Wakefield's performance is available on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=143587562372251 and at http://www.buddywakefield.com.

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