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Live for a Living

4.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  410 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
"Tender, jarring and deeply human, Live For A Living is a book of poetry that is pulsing with the same electricity and honesty found in Buddy's live performances." -Andrea Gibson; International Poet-Activist
Paperback, 140 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Write Bloody Publishing (first published October 1st 2007)
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Dale Jr.
Dec 04, 2013 Dale Jr. rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 4-star
Enjoyable read with some great insight to Buddy's own life and though process between poems. Although I enjoyed it, I really do believe his poetry comes off more powerful when performed. This is the case with most "performance" poets, I find. Not to detract from the words found here. You're just missing that extra dimension when you read it.
Write Bloody Publishing
Feb 24, 2010 Write Bloody Publishing rated it it was amazing

“One of my heroes, Buddy Wakefield.”
- Ani DiFranco, punk folk legend

“Monster of energy, Keeper of Hope...”
- Benjamin Morse, EasyReader

“I could not have enjoyed his work more.”
-Norman Lear, Producer (Princess Bride, Stand
By Me, The Jefferson’s)

“Tender, jarring and deeply human, Live For A Living
is a book of poetry that is pulsing with the same
electricity and honesty found in Buddy’s live
- Andrea Gibson; International Poet-Activist

“If you’ve never been rocked back by th
Eric Susak
May 27, 2015 Eric Susak rated it really liked it
Some nuances may have been lost by reading this rather than listening to Buddy Wakefield perform the poems. He has a way of growling at the right moments, of stepping back from the words when they need space, of improvising some humor when the words get too heavy for the room to hold. But either way, the poems still resonate on a personal level. Buddy speaks directly to each person reading and listening in such a way that you might feel a part of the poems. If all you want is to feel that person ...more
Kent Winward
Dec 04, 2013 Kent Winward rated it liked it
Wakefield's other book of poetry, Gentleman Practice, is a better poetry book. Most of this book was diary entries, rather than poetry. These are clearly performance pieces and lose a little on the page, especially the group pieces.
Jan 20, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
My favourite poem in this book is When The Train Came.
I can't stop reading it, and like the caption before you read the book;

"It doesn't speak or move or invade or deny or convince. It just is, like air. Exactly like air."

I needed this book. It helped me breathe and I will forever keep it with me. To ease my pain, and breathe.
The best parts in the previously mentioned poem in my opinion is following;

''They say laughter is the best medicine
so I wrapped my arms up in swing set chains
just to see i
Ronnie Stephens
Dec 25, 2014 Ronnie Stephens rated it really liked it
I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 only because I am reviewing it after having read Wakefield's newest book, "Gentlemen Practice." Don't let that dissuade you from checking this one out. It is filled with Wakefield's ever inventive voice, and the poems virtually force you to read them out loud for friends. Many of my favorite performance pieces appear in this book, and they stand up as well on page as they do on stage. "Live for a Living" is an exciting move from Wakefield, leaps and bounds b ...more
Peter Stock
Mar 19, 2016 Peter Stock rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Peter by: Everyone
Rating- 4.80

I wasn't expecting this book to be more than just a collection of poems that the author accumulated over his years, but instead holding some short stories that at times were more thought provoking than his poems (obviously not saying that his poems were lacking).

I really loved how he interwove his short stories into his poems and vise versa. Everything felt like it had a specific purpose in this book. However, the short stories, at first, were throwing me for a loop. I didn't know if
Apr 14, 2010 Julaine rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent collection of Buddy Wakefield's poems and his thought processes that lead into his poetic work. My favorite poem is "Gandhi's Autobiography." He prefaces this poem with an anecdote from his life and the sentiment of feeling like the work a writer does is never good enough. But you can't sit down and expect to create a masterpiece every time. The idea is you are writing, and eventually that will lead you to something great. Action is better than inaction. Plus, regardless of ...more
Oct 17, 2010 Jesse rated it it was amazing
An unconventional, raw, and powerful collection from one of my favorite modern poets. For being primarily a performance poet (memorizes his work, reads theatrically), his poems work surprisingly well on the page. He uses rather obscure language a lot of the time, a lot of combined metaphors and even words, which yield to close reading. "Gospelstitch" and "Human The Death Dance" (as well as it's follow up, "The Art of Die Smilingly") are probably my favorites of his. The book is also laced with j ...more
Kylie Thompson
Oct 06, 2015 Kylie Thompson rated it it was amazing
Buddy Wakefield has fast become my favourite writer. He has a turn of phrase that's both witty and profound, and a way of exploring painful or awkward topics that finds beauty in the ugliness.

'Live For A Living' is a blend of poetry and personal stories, a way to explore the poetry and the worlds in which the poems were created. For those with vivid memories of the boredom of poetry class, this is not your traditional poetry. This is poetry with bite; it's all the things that poetry should be,
Jul 10, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Buddy Wakefield's poetry is a hollered "Amen!" without the hellfire fear. He writes two-fistedly, if fists were made of hearts. He's an EMT for language, wielding his shock paddles in love "this'll hurt us more than it'll hurt either of us, but we'll be ok. Hang on."
Jaycia Hunt
Jul 30, 2014 Jaycia Hunt rated it it was amazing
Powerful full of intrigue & comfort. I carry this book in my bag & find moments where I need to be brought back.... I sit & center myself & read.
I saw Buddy perform live & it was what I needed, his spoken word... Phenomenal
May 11, 2014 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and truthfully spoken. My emotions were on a roller coaster throughout reading this (in a good way) and no other book has really ever done that to me. I am in awe of his pieces
Jan 26, 2015 Gabrielle rated it it was amazing
The rawness and honesty of this collection carves out a spot for Wakefield in my heart. The brutality of his truth will be with me for a while.
Kelsie Caldwell
May 18, 2013 Kelsie Caldwell rated it it was amazing
I have read this over & over again & I fall in love with it more each time. Buddy is my favorite poet and is someone I admire as a writer & poet. I would recommend this collection to anyone and everyone because it is something I feel everyone should read at least once. Some of my absolute favorite poems are from this collection. My favorite poem is "The Information Man". & im very fond of "Healing Herman Hesse". Other favorites that I would recommend are "My Town", "Giant Saint E ...more
Marc Gonsalves
Jun 24, 2015 Marc Gonsalves rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic work by Buddy. Mixture of journal entries and poems.
Amy Drennan
Mar 27, 2015 Amy Drennan rated it liked it
Gospelstitch.... no need to say anything else!
Feb 09, 2014 Hildur rated it it was amazing
total lifesaver
Jul 28, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I meet Buddy Wakefield October 2011, crossing him off my "Top People I need to Meet in my Lifetime List". What he does with words is so incredibly complex that I read and listen to his words over and over just to feel alive with him. Living for A Living is so brilliant. He is a true poet with all the courage of the world to spill his heart on the page and walk away stronger. "Sometimes I miss you so badly, I beg for the plane to crash for just enough time in the free fall to call out your name." ...more
Noor Al-samarrai
Apr 09, 2008 Noor Al-samarrai rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome-books
i saw buddy wakefield read (or, recite rather) and couldn't get him out of my head for days, which in turn sparked a poem that i've been working on for about a month...
anyways--i would reccomend this book to anyone, just keep in mind that it's spoken word poetry...
wakefield is a genius, the kind you have to see for yourself...ummmmm

my favorite poem from this book would have to be "Gandhi's Autobiography"--it's subliminal...
Eric Bach
Aug 20, 2013 Eric Bach rated it it was amazing
This is brutally beautiful.
So are we.
This is endless.
So are we.
We can heal this.

See me for who I am. We got work to do.

This is a wonderful collection of poems and journal entries from my personal favorite poet. His words can strike a chord with anyone. I highly recommend. It's a pretty quick read but it will reverberate with you for long after you read it.
May 18, 2015 Thea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Such a good ride. These will be words I revisit often for many years. Ripping honesty and one hell of a dazzling smile.
Dec 03, 2013 Cyndi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
There is no substitute for seeing Buddy Wakefield perform live. However, the book is still excellent because it includes journal entries and a few explanations about his poems. I'm pretty sure this is one I'll read again and again.

If you ever get a chance to see him live I highly recommend it.
Feb 29, 2012 Conor rated it it was amazing
Buddy Wakefield has the most powerful presence of any poet touring the great us of a. this translates beautifully to the page. you will be shook, slapped and revived all in one stanza. an absolutely essential read for anyone. buddy is of my top five poets.
Feb 18, 2010 Caitlin rated it really liked it
I found Buddy on youtube looking up clips of spoken word poetry and ended up buying this book in a bundle with his newest CD, Live at the Typer Cannon Grand. His writing's every bit as lovely on the page, just honest and beautiful.
Dec 24, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Buddy Wakefield's poetry constantly blows my mind with its honesty. Buddy strikes me as a guy who is always on the watch, always looking for those scraps of meaning. As someone who also does this, I appreciate and love Buddy.
Nov 14, 2008 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I find myself carrying this book around with me, reading the poems over and over. Buddy's poems are very earthy, funny, real and entertaining. Buddy's writing really resonates with me.
Lynn Lane
Jun 16, 2008 Lynn Lane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Buddy Wakefield is a phenomenal performance poet with many International Individual Poetry awards to his name. This book captures the energy and feel behind his work as you would expect.
Jun 01, 2013 Gio rated it really liked it
Excellent spoken word poetry by one of today's best performance poets. If you ever read or heard the live performance of Cannonball Man you'll know what I'm talking about. Great stuff.
Feb 21, 2013 Teearr rated it it was amazing
This is the most opened book on my shelf. If I'm having a bad day or week, I open this up, read a bit of it and just feel incredible. Inspired.
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BUDDY WAKEFIELD is the two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion featured on NPR, the BBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and most recently signed to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. In 2004 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Finals thanks to the support of anthropologist and producer Norman Lear then successfully defended that title at the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Nether ...more
More about Buddy Wakefield...

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“I should have told You
before talking in terms of Forever
that any given day wears me out and works me sour,
that there are nights when the sky is so clear
I stand obnoxious underneath it
begging for the stars to shoot at me
just so I can feel at Home.”
“I am standing like shoe polish on an overstocked shelf hoping that one day someone will pick me to make things better.” 48 likes
More quotes…