And so continues my weekly Write Bloody obsession… This time around it’s Taylor Mali.
From the Write Bloody website:
Mali 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 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. Mali was formerly president of Poetry Slam, Inc.
So… Taylor Mali…
My first experience with him was when he appeared on Def Poetry Jam and I just loved his true to life monologue style of spoken word poetry. His great enunciation and inflection. His exaggerated mannerisms. Etc, etc. Taylor Mali has always been kind of an iconic symbol of slam poetry for me just as much if not more than Marc Smith himself.
Now for those who know him personally and have competed against him in slams, from what I have heard from a few my title of this entry would be the opposite of what they would say… but then again, I have never had to compete against him or deal with him in the role of slam master or PSI president.
My experience? It’s kind of convoluted but here goes… I was giving poet Ed Mabrey a ride from Phoenix, AZ to his feature in Tucson, AZ and along the way he gets a random phone call from a friend telling him he was in town and would try to catch Ed’s feature if what he was doing ended soon enough. The friend? You guessed it: Taylor Mali.
So Taylor shows up to the event and no one expected or asked him to perform (not like the little venue could afford his fee last minute ya know?) but… he was moved to share after watching a round of the slam. WAY TO GO TUCSON! Yeah, that’s my hometown. Uh-huh!
Honestly, I was WAY more fan gurl excited to meet Taylor Mali then when I met Saul Williams a year prior. So I was super excited when I got to be in the picture with him and my friend Aaron (an amazing poet in his own right). So… one random show up and a short conversation and a photograph later and TAYLOR MALI IS A SWELL GUY!
Me and my friend Aaron with Taylor Mali back in 2009 at the Ocotillo Poetry Slam in Tucson, AZ. Ed Mabrey was the feature and Taylor Mali showed up to support him and even performed even though he had originally said he wouldn’t. (!)