Jan. 28: Poetry performance

Performance poet Taylor Mali featured at Roselle Center for the Arts

The noted author and performance poet Taylor Mali will be featured in an event at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the University of Delaware's Roselle Center for the Arts.

The performance will be followed by a book signing and reception at 6:30 p.m. It is sponsored by the Honors Program, the Department of English, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development.

Mali, described by The New York Times as "a ranting comic showman and literary provocateur," is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement.

Articulate, accessible, passionate and funny, Mali studied drama in Oxford with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and puts those skills of presentation to work in all of his performances. He was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and was the "Armani-clad villain" of Paul Devlin's 1997 documentary film SlamNation.

His poem "What Teachers Make" has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube and was quoted by the New York Times' Thomas Friedman in one of his commencement addresses.

Mali is vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and SAT test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and in 2012 he reached his goal of creating 1,000 new teachers through "poetry, persuasion and perseverance."

Based on the poem that inspired a movement, his book of essays, What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, is his passionate defense of teachers drawing on his own experiences, both in the classroom and as a traveling poet.

He is the author of two books of poetry, The Last Time As We Are (Write Bloody Books, 2009) and What Learning Leaves (Hanover, 2002), and four CDs of spoken word. He has narrated several books on tape, including The Great Fire, for which he won the Golden Earphones Award for children's narration.

From UDaily 01/12/2015; photo by Peter Dressel

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