One artistic form that has developed a large gathering at UAA is the poetry reading known as spoken word. Sept. 18 will bring Derrick Brown, Buddy Wakefield, and Anis Mojgani to Alaska to perform in the spoken word tour known as Junkyard Ghosts Revival.
This tour is a cross-country poetry slam featuring local and national artists from all over, and the Alaska performance promises to be everything spoken word is.
“We’re excited to go up there,” said Buddy Wakefield, “and it will be a revival.” The running theme of the tour is revival of one’s self and spoken word in general. The Alaska performance will kick off the Junkyard Ghosts tour, which will run from its debut on Sept 18 to Nov. 6, featuring performances at universities all over the nation.
Buddy Wakefield, one of the regulars on the tour, was interviewed on Thursday, Aug. 28.
He said he enjoyed writing spoken word around, “being openly human, cards on the table, things that speak to a universal voice, things that remind people that there’s nothing wrong with being human, or. sort of adding the little gospel church without the guilt to living.”
Spoken word has served as a method of venting for the people who write. Most are attracted to it because of its common association with healing.
“I used to think that it heals me, and the deep stuff, you know, the deep stuff that goes on behind our eyes in the laughter and the politics and all of it, inside and out, it used to serve as a tool to heal me. That’s what I liked about it so much,” said Buddy Wakefield. “In writing mode, I need to create more, and when we need to create more, you know to be redeemed you have to have been down and to have been revived you have to have been in the dark or trapped, and most of my writing is about revival and release.”
It is perhaps this idea of healing, release, and revival that draws such a following to it, or perhaps it is the honesty or almost the haunting quality about it, ergo the tour name, “Junkyard Ghosts.”
Many spoken word artists such as Mojgani and Wakefield have been mixing in musical aspects to their spoken word performances, broadening the perspective of the artistic style. In fact, Wakefield had a beginning in music.
“I started out writing songs when I was in college and then spoken word happened and I found my mix,” said Wakefield. “But I think they go hand in hand. Both of them, I would hope, effect someone. in a way that gives rise to the better spirits.”
Spoken word has been featured at UAA in several events in the past, including several readings at the 2008 summer Juneteenth Celebration and regular sessions put on by Student Activities. Venues outside of UAA, such as Out North, feature spoken word poets monthly with a running theme.
With spoken word’s history of success in the past, Junkyard Ghosts Revival holds much in store for it’s audience, and is an event well worth attending. Wakefield is actually returning to Alaska, having done a successful show in Anchorage in the past.
“I was in Anchorage a couple years ago at a local bar and it was a great show. It sold out and we had a remarkable time. I can’t wait to come up again.”