The Wordsmiths

Transcending slam poetry: The Buddy and Anis Show takes performance poetry to a whole new level

Transcending slam poetry: The Buddy and Anis Show takes performance poetry to a whole new level

What are your thoughts on slam poetry? Do you thrill at the high energy and creativity of this dynamic art form? Or have too many overwrought, over-performed political rants left a bad taste in your mouth? It seems most poetry lovers are either hardcore fans or vehement dissenters; rarely is there a neutral middle.

Sometimes, however, a poet comes along that captures the visceral nature of slam and then moves beyond it, creating an original, timeless signature style. For those of you who shudder at the thought of competition and poetry uttered in the same sentence, prepare to rejoice. For one night only, two of slam poetry's greatest alumni are here to show you how performance poetry can be done. How you always wished it could be.

Poets Buddy Wakefield and Anis Mojgani have risen above the tremendous success of their competitive slam careers to find new outlets for their words. As two of the most prolific and thoughtful poets to ever start spinning metaphor, both men tour the country constantly, repeatedly demonstrating how an original, personal approach to the art form privileges the talent and individual voice of the poet.

As of last year, Austin is fortunate to count Mojgani as a permanent resident. So performing on the stage at the ND@501 Studios, where he and Wakefield will take the stage on Thursday, is old hat for him. The Buddy and Anis Show, part of Write Bloody Poetry Month in Austin, conveys an air of casual homecoming, as several old friends come together to perform on a familiar stage.

For those keeping score, the ND was the former home of the Austin Poetry Slam, and Anis and Wakefield appeared there many times as featured poets. While it is now housed at the 29th Street Ballroom, The Austin Poetry Slam is hosting these two great minds, who are both still big supporters of APS.

Mojgani and Wakefield also traveled together in a small van across the United States with a team of revolving poets calling themselves the Night Kite Revival. The last permanent member in those lineups was fellow poetry demi-god Derrick Brown, who is now the owner of the incomparably hip poetry press, Write Bloody Publishing, where Mojgani and Wakefield's latest books are published.

Having transcended the competitive aspect of slam, these poets are now using their chosen medium to paint perfectly-chosen word pictures that will do what you know good poetry can do: illuminate the cosmos and then put a demanding microscope to the human condition. Never in-your-face abrasive, their words will still get under your skin and nest there long beyond the next poem. You'll want to buy their books and CDs so you can hear their voices in your mind again.

Helping them deliver a night of perfect pitch, the evening will be hosted by fellow Write Bloody author (and recent Austin transfer), Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, and include opening performances by poets Kevin Burke and Ebony Stewart and aerial acrobatics by Sky Candy Aerial Arts.

Having seen Mojgani and Wakefield perform live and deliver the goods in every instance, I cannot recommend this evening enough. (And that's coming from a pretty tough critic.) Do yourself a favor, and let these two soft-spoken artists rock your world.

Austin photo: Event_Buddy Wakefield_Poster
Austin photo: Event_Night Kite Revival_Poster
Mojgani (l) and Wakefield with fellow Night Kite Revival members Derrick Brown and Andrea Gibson.