(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Champion slam poet Taylor Mali brings his tender and funny spoken word art to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, November 12, at 7pm, as part of the monthly “Rogovoy Salon” music, literary, and art series curated and hosted by cultural journalist Seth Rogovoy.
Author-poet Taylor Mali is one of the few genuine celebrities to emerge from the competitive slam-poetry scene. He is perhaps best known for the poem “What Teachers Make,” a question he expanded upon in his bestselling book, “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World” (Putnam, 2012).
Mali’s incisive work, which spares no one, especially himself, is often about family, masculinity, marriage, divorce, fatherhood, race, and education. It’s also mostly funny. His brand-new chapbook, “The Whetting Stone,” is a brutally honest and heartbreaking examination of love, loss, depression, suicide – and the will to live.
“Taylor has evolved from the slam-poetry scene into a true bard of contemporary life,” says Rogovoy. “His poetry on the page is now as evocative as his slam-poetry was boisterous. What he brings to his spoken-word art is that same sense of urgency and connection with his audience that informed his slam performances. Plus, he’s as funny as any standup comedian, and he’s not afraid to aim his wit directly at himself.”
Mali’s poetry collections include “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 “The Last Time As We Are” (Write Bloody Books, 2009) and “What Learning Leaves” (Hanover, 2002). Mali 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).
Mali appeared in the documentaries “SlamNation” (1997) and “Slam Planet” (2006). He was also in the HBO production, “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry,” which won a Peabody Award in 2003.