(NOTE: IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE INTRODUCING TAYLOR AT AN EVENT, DON’T READ THIS ALOUD VERBATIM. IT’S TOO LONG! YOU CAN TAKE A FEW FACTS FROM HERE, OR GO TO HIS INTRODUCTION CUE CARD, WHICH YOU CAN ACCESS HERE. ALSO NOTE: “I, TAYLOR MALI, WAS BORN ON MARCH 28, 1965”).
Born in New York City in 1965 into a family some of whose members had lived there since the mid 1600s, Taylor Mali is a rare entity in spoken word, which is often considered to be an art form influenced by the inner city and dominated either by poets of color or those otherwise imbued with the spirit of hip-hop.
Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having himself spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his 12-year long Quest for One Thousand Teachers, completed in April of 2012, helped create 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance,” an achievement Mali commemorated by donating 12″ of his hair to the American Cancer Society.
Taylor Mali is the author most recently of Bouquet of Red Flags (Write Bloody Books 2014), a poetic celebration of “a marriage I did not yet realize was over.” He is also the author of What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World (Putnam 2012) as well as two other books of poetry, The Last Time As We Are (Write Bloody Books 2009) and What Learning Leaves (Hanover 2002). He received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant in 2001 to develop Teacher! Teacher! a one-man show about poetry, teaching, and math which won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001 Comedy Arts Festival.
Formerly president of Poetry Slam, Inc., the non-profit organization that oversees all poetry slams in North America, Taylor Mali makes his living entirely as a spoken-word and voiceover artist these days, traveling around the country performing and teaching workshops as well as doing occasional commercial voiceover work. He has narrated several books on tape, including The Great Fire (for which he won the Golden Earphones Award for children’s narration).