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‘Open book’: Spoken-word artist likes to ‘connect with the gritty underbelly’

Spoken-word artist Buddy Wakefield will perform in Albuquerque on Sunday, Dec. 1. (Courtesy of Kelley Van Evert)

It’s taken Buddy Wakefield eight years to put out a book of new work.

That doesn’t mean that he slowed down one bit.

He kept touring across the country performing his spoken-word pieces.

With his latest work, “A Choir of Honest Killers,” Wakefield took a deep dive into his life.

“I prefer to connect with the gritty underbelly,” he says frankly. “For me, it’s fantastic. I’m out of most people’s comfort zones. I have nothing to hide. I suspect more people will find the book. For me, it’s lovely to live with nothing to hide. I’m an open book.”

Wakefield’s current book performance tour will make a stop in Albuquerque on Sunday, Dec. 1 at the Outpost Performance Space.

The 45-year-old spoken-word artist is a three-time world champion.

He has been featured on NPR, BBC and HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and was recently signed to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records.

He is known for his delivery of raw, rounded, disarming performances with humor and heart and is known for his unique blend of “polished insouciance and brilliant wordplay.”

Wakefield writes about how being a witness is fundamental to the structure in healing.

“And as a recovering narcissist, it’s my job to witness that,” he says. “If I witness myself honestly, some people are going to feel better. It does get better, and there is sustainable joy. Love isn’t an ideal. It’s the power of now. The goal for me is to infiltrate all that is heavy and make it lighter.”

Wakefield says his process is simply to workshop the material.

“Everything inspires me,” he says. “The process is me showing up and making it happen.”

He’s been touring for 18 years straight and has learned many lessons on the road.

One problem that drives him crazy is talkers.

“People that don’t know how to be quiet,” he says. “I’m a spoken-word artist, it’s not going to be a fun show if you’re talking at the same time I am. I would say 95% of the shows, people know what they are getting. Recently, I was doing this arts council event and there were these four super-hot couples drinking beer and talking. I’m not going to be the object of that. It was in Illinois, and I took on eight people and the crowd applauded them out of the room. I’m always creating a safe space.”

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