World-renowned poet to stop in Norwich as part of world tour

NORWICH — Three-time world champion spoken word artist/slam poet Buddy Wakefield is making a stop in downtown Norwich as a part of his 15-month world tour, “Riled Up and Wasted on Light,” at 7 p.m. this Thursday.

“If there were a national hall of fame for slam poets, Buddy would be a first round inductee,” said Richard Bernstein, Norwich High School English teacher, poet and published author.

Slam poetry has been defined as the art of performance poetry. It it commonly a competitive presentation of multiple artists who are then judged based on various components, with an emphasis not only on the poetry itself, but how it is conveyed to the audience.

In 2004, Wakefield won the Individual World Poetry Slam Finals, and the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands that same year — a festival where Wakefield performed amongst the national champions from seven European countries.

In 2005, Wakefield won the International World Poetry Slam Championship.

Wakefield has been featured on ABC Radio National, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, National Public Radio, and was signed to musician Ani DiFranco’s record label Righteous Babe Records. He’s a published author through Write Bloody Publishing with books including “Gentleman Practice” and “Live For a Living.”

Wakefield has taken the the stage at more than 2,000 venues worldwide, yet is no stranger to performing in Norwich.

“I first brought Buddy Wakefield to norwich in 2006 for the Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival,” said Bernstein.

”Buddy Wakefield was the featured poet in our fifth Colorscape Chenango Poetry Slam,” said Peggy Finnegan, Executive Director of Colorscape Chenango. “Wakefield made Colorscape’s Poetry Slam reputation and integrity what it is. It took place at the then Music Shop Pub.”

“Due to popular demand he returned in 2007,” said Bernstein. “Buddy's two appearances ushered in nearly a decade of first class performance poets at the Colorscape Poetry Slam.”

Finnegan said, “The performances had an impact on young people in the area by creating an appreciation for the written word.”

After eight years, Wakefield is to return to Norwich to take the stage at The Blarney Stone Pub, at 26 South Broad St. in downtown Norwich.

On The Riled Up and Wasted on Light tour Wakefield traveled across the United States performing and leading workshops, which continued overseas to areas including but not limited to England, Belgium, Sweden, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tasmania, Australia, The Netherlands, and Canada.

“He never lets the heart on his sleeve get in the way of his poetry,” said Bernstein.

Wakefield said he is envisioning a more intimate and relaxed show for his Norwich stop, as he just entered the 14th month of the tour.

“We’re so psyched that he is making a stop at our small town pub,” said Sarah Woods, owner of The Blarney Stone Pub. “It’s pretty amazing.”

The show is free, begins at 7 p.m., and is for individuals 21 and older.

“He is a high-octane performer who is guaranteed to please the audience,” added Bernstein.

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