Kristen Marschall

Students and community members can appreciate Another Type of Groove on Thursday night when student slam poets will be joined by two-time Individual World Poetry Slam champion Buddy Wakefield.

Another Type of Groove is a student-run organization that creates an open forum for ideas and dialogue, all of which is expressed through poetry.

Adam Serafin, ATOG coordinator of events and business administration senior, said it’s an event “where no matter what you say- (the audience) will respect your right to say it and respect individuals.”

The club meets on the first Thursday of every month for a two-part event: an open mic portion where students and community members can step up and perform, and a performance by a featured poet.

But April’s show will offer more than the others. In addition to the open mic performances, there will also be a “student slam” – a competition among six students.

To end the night, Wakefield will perform.

“Buddy actually contacted me toward the beginning of the year and told me he’d be (in San Luis Obispo) in April and would love to perform,” Serafin said.

Serafin said he was stunned given Wakefield’s status in the slam poetry community, but said the slam poet “always speaks highly of the SLO community and the poetry program here.” Wakefield estimated that he has performed in San Luis Obispo at least seven or eight times.

“I’m excited to get back there,” he said. “There’s a special place in my heart for ATOG.”

Though every slam poet focuses on different themes and issues in their work, Serafin said Wakefield is a more universal poet.

“(Some poets) are sometimes very political, sometimes very cultural, some poets are focused on gender issues and sexual orientation issues. (Wakefield) has a way of performing so it hits home for everyone,” Serafin said.

“I’m not very typical,” Wakefield said of his style. “I’m terrified of mediocrity; I try not to bring cliches to the stage.”

According to Wakefield’s Web site, buddywakefield.com, he left his job as an executive assistant at a biomedical firm in Washington and sold or gave away all of his belongings. From there, he set out to tour all the major poetry venues in North America.

“I wanted to be surrounded by people I admire and do what I love,” he said. “Poetry gets a bad rap and can be seen as pretty lame – I come from who I am and hope it hits people hard – in a good way.”

He wrote a book titled “Some They Can’t Contain” and released a CD in 1999 called “A Stretch of Presence.” He will release a new CD later in April, on which he collaborated with friend and hip-hop artist Sage Francis.

On top of that, Wakefield founded the Bullhorn Collective, a talent agency that is comprised of many top poets throughout the nation. He manages to oversee the agency while touring full time.

“It’s a well-known thing in the world of slam poetry, (but) I have to watch quality and continue to promote people I believe in. – (I) have to keep it diverse and not have a bunch of white boys in there,” he said. “We talk about the issues and have the people that do it the best.”

It is through the Bullhorn Collective that ATOG has been able to arrange for different slam poets to come to Cal Poly and perform. Serafin said most of the poets come from Los Angeles or San Francisco. In May, Jerry Quickley will be the featured poet for the final performance of the year.

The event is free and open to the public at Philips Hall located in the Performing Arts Center Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

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