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Taalam Acey to Buddy Wakefield

1.What is the future of Spoken Word?
Practicing what is being preached… and learning to play an instrument.

2. Who were your early poetry influences and which contemporary > poets do you most enjoy?
“Early”: Annie LaGanga, Tim Sanders, Gayle Danley and Pink Floyd
“Contemporary”: Andrea Gibson, Derrick Brown, Anis Mojgani and Mike Doughty

3. What hurts the art form of performance poetry most?
Tragedy addicts.

4. Should performance poetry be a viable profession or is it best kept a hobby?
I got in the car at such an awkward angle today that I sat on my balls.

5. What are your feelings on the prose and rhyme poetic styles?
Taalam, were you sitting with a college journalism major when you wrote this question? I swear if you weren’t so tall I’d punch you in the knee right now.

6. How do you feel about traveling and is it a necessary evil for full time performance poets?
After a decade (the first 2 years and four months of it spent living from my car), I’ve become a huge fan of stability, routine, consistency and health. Traveling is, however, a necessary evil for full-time performance poets. Thank goodness for work ethic and smart choices regarding side projects, merchandise, consolidating time spent touring, and the emergence of technology and more health food stores on the road.

7. What/where was the largest gig you’ve done?
In my heart: Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA the first time I opened for Ani DiFranco.
Technically: I think there were 3,000+ at the National Finals in 2005, Albuquerque.

8. Describe the first place you performed Spoken Word?
The Globe Cafe (now closed) in Seattle, WA. I performed “Strength So Strong.”
Oh, wait, does poetry night at a summer camp count? That came first.

9. What’s your favorite place to perform?
Home. Seattle.

10. How does the internet play into your career?


11. What are your feelings about performance poetry with musical accompaniment?

I’ve grown to prefer it so long as it doesn’t show up like some self-indulgent beat poetry jazz chatter. I wanna cause a revival, not a finger snap.

12. What would you say is the difference between presence and performance?
One shakes hands with a spine. The other is acting, like fake crying.
Presence is always welcome in my book. Performance is fantastic[al] in moderation.

13. How have poetry slams factored into your career?
While I’m no longer drawn to Slams, or interested in deep discussions about them, I am incredibly thankful for the platform Slam has provided with regards to my healing, growing, career and my voice.

14. How did the Seattle poetry scene influence your work?

By being a supportive and thriving community of talented individuals encouraging each other to live a little better than what they did yesterday.

15. What aspects of your style would you describe as uniquely Texan?

I say y’all *a lot* in my work. It’s a break-down-the-fourth-wall tool. It’s not very unique to say “y’all” though. I’m a fashionably unoriginal former bull-rider, and I can rope you from the stage (try me). Is that uniquely Texan? Oh, and I can buttfuck a cactus.

Buddy Wakefield to Taalam Acey

1) There’s a difference between knowing and practicing. What should you be practicing more?
I continue to practice positively affirming life with the core belief that things work out for the best when you do your best. So every day is another opportunity to be the best me I can.  I’m more comfortable with the results of my efforts now that my perspective is more accepting of unintended results and based more on being appreciative of the lessons in and of themselves.

2)  What was your high point today?
It’s 8:45am and I woke up in Phoenix a few hours ago. My high point so far was going out to the balcony to smoke a Black & Mild, look out into the skyline and reflecting on the uncertainty and promise of the days to come.

3)  Favorite go-to joke when put on the spot?
It’s kind of long to tell and doesn’t really translate in print, however, it involves 2 pious parrots succumbing to a parrot vixen. I’m not one to tell canned jokes, but when I need a go-to joke, that’s the one that’s been the most consistently effective.

4)  Do you feel like artists rise from falls they take in vain just for a reason to stand?
I suppose there are people who rise from falls they take intentionally and perhaps those falls are often in vain. It’s hard for me to conceptualize the idea that an opportunity to stand could be in vain, even if the fall itself were self-inflicted. However, if all they end up with is a reason to stand, yet don’t quite stand up then it would certainly be in vain. But the perpetrator would not necessarily fit my definition of an artist. I think of art as a more natural process resulting from the individual manifesting what naturally follows from being him/herself.

5)  And when do you catch yourself doing that (recycling redemption), if ever?
That’s not my process with regard to writing. I may live that cycle to some extent as the methods with which I market my work are often dichotomous. Still the writing itself is always honest in that I only create work when the time feels right and the ideas born in my head have bounced around to what feels like critical mass.

6)  Have you found an inlet to sustainable joy?
Just the understanding of that common wisdom: “Happiness has more to do with wanting what you have, than having what you think you want.”

7)  Name one song you actually like that if people caught you listenin’ to, and feelin’, like seriously rockin’ out on, you’d probably try to explain yourself.
Perhaps The Rolling Stone’s, “Sympathy for the Devil;” One of my absolute favorites but I’m sure people would have questions if the saw me zone out to it.  Ha!

8)  Do you feel like you could take me in arm wrastlin’… chump?
I wouldn’t bet money on it but, then, who knows?

9)   Aside from poetry, is there anything people would be genuinely surprised to know you do well?
I adapt to very odd and uncomfortable situations. The kind that incessant traveling will often thrust upon you.

10)  On a scale of 1 to 80 (80 being elite athlete, and 1 being the dude who got killed for gluttony in the movie “Seven”) how healthy is your lifestyle? Consider body first, then mind, then spirit.
Body: I’m in decent shape but I have a few vices and I’m nearly 40 years old, so I’ll go with 60. Mind: I read regularly and am more motivated by opportunities to learn than opportunities for leisure, so I’d go with 70. Spirit: I believe that things are as they should be and, like the rest of us, I’m here to allow my inner self to manifest and, in some way, move humanity with it’s gifts and convictions while learning and recalibrating. I’d say I’m at 70 there as well.

11)  If you were on death row, and it was time for your last meal, what would they be serving you?
Lobster stuffed with crab imperial.

12) Who/what makes you belly laugh most often?
I keep the sitcom, ‘Two and a Half Men” stocked up on my DVR and whenever I need a laugh, an episode or 2 does the trick.

13) What new skill are you ready to learn, and do you have what it takes to follow through?
I’m interested in documenting my experiments with writing, performing and traveling more thoroughly. I’ll have to become more adept at filming, planning ahead and editing the footage. I don’t doubt I’ll be able to follow through.

14) You ever dance when you pray?
No, but walking while I commune with the Almighty is pretty common for me.

15) Why were you on death row?
Was never on death row, but if I were, it would be for refusing to veer from my core beliefs or conform to that which is against how my spirit receives that my particular energy was meant to affect humanity.



  1. Nice real talk fellas. Safe journeys all around.

  2. If I had a quarter for every time I came here! Superb read!

  3. Really great article! Honestly.

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