Highlighter Series: Gentleman Practice by Buddy Wakefield

I was first introduced to Buddy Wakefield via his spoken word poem Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars. Arguably his most well-known poem, there is not a line in it that goes astray. No words wasted. It is a poem that packs a punch both on and off the page, but I personally prefer listening to Wakefield’s performance of it. There’s a deep vulnerability to the way he delivers the poem, along with a quiet confidence that he is saying something that is worthy of being heard. Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars is not the only poem that tricks me into a chokehold, but it is the poem that led me to Wakefield’s collection Gentleman Practice.

Write Bloody Publishing | 2011 | 152 pages | 978-1935904106

If I can be honest, Gentleman Practice is a strangely formatted collection. Separated into sections, it follows each section with a set of notes about who and what inspired certain pieces or giving due credit to people from whom certain quotes originated. It’s also less a collection of poetry, and more a collection of excerpts. It has poems, yes, but it also has exchanges of dialogue, one-liners, quotes by his friends and peers and even a few photographs thrown in. If you’re looking for a straight no-bullshit poetry collection, Gentleman Practice is perhaps not for you. But if you’re like me, and find yourself fascinated by the minds of your favourite poets, their interactions, their sense of humour even, then it’s perfect. It’s a very alive collection, which without over-explaining, I mean to say, it is buzzing with experiences.

Here are some of my most-loved parts of it:

And finally:

Contributing Editor /

Donna-Marie Riley currently resides in the South West of England. She is author of the poetry collection Love and Other Small Wars, published by Words Dance, and also featured in Between Sentiment and Sensation: Vol I, published by Red Paint Hill. She romanticizes cold coffee and bitten nails and she likes her poetry shaken, not stirred.