Taylor Mali at the international school in Stockholm
March 28, 1965 |
New York City, New York, USA
|Occupation||Poet, Teacher, Voice Actor|
|Literary movement||Slam Poetry|
|Notable work(s)||What Learning Leaves|
A 10th-generation native of New York City, Taylor Mali graduated from the Collegiate School, a private school for boys, in 1983. He received a B.A. in English from Bowdoin College in 1987 and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from Kansas State University in 1993. One of four children, his mother was children's book author Jane L. Mali, a recipient of the American Book Award, and his father was H. Allen Mali, vice president of Henry W.T. Mali & Co., manufacturers of pool table coverings. He is the great-great-grandson of John Taylor Johnston, founding president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has married three times. His first wife was Rebecca Ruth Tauber (married in 1993; she died in 2004) and his second wife was Marie-Elizabeth Mundheim (married in 2006; they divorced in 2012). On August 11, 2013, Mali married Rachel Kahan. 
As a slam poetry performer, Taylor Mali has been on seven National Poetry Slam teams; six appeared on the finals stage and four won the competition (1996 with Team Providence; 1997, 2000 and 2002 with Team NYC-Urbana). Mali is the author of What Learning Leaves and the Last Time as We Are (Write Bloody Publishing), has recorded four CDs, and is included in various anthologies. Poets who have influenced him include Billy Collins, Saul Williams, Walt Whitman, Rives, Mary Oliver, and Naomi Shihab Nye. He is perhaps best known for the poem "What Teachers Make." The popular poem became the basis of a book of essays, titled, "What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World" which was published in 2012 by Putnam Adult.
He appeared in Taylor Mali & Friends Live at the Bowery Poetry Club and 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. Taylor Mali is the former president of Poetry Slam Incorporated, and he has performed with such renowned poets as Billy Collins and Allen Ginsberg. Although he retired from the National Poetry Slam competition in 2005, he still helps curate NYC-Urbana Poetry Series, held weekly at the Bowery Poetry Club.
Taylor Mali spent nine years teaching English, history, and math, including stints at Browning School, a boys' school on the Upper East Side of New York City, and Cape Cod Academy, a K-12 private school on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He now lectures and conducts workshops for teachers and students all over the world. In 2001 Taylor Mali used a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts to develop the one-man show "Teacher! Teacher!" about poetry, teaching, and math. He is a strong advocate for the nobility of teaching and in 2000 he set out to create 1,000 new teachers through "poetry, persuasion, perseverance, or passion." He finally reached the mark on April 1, 2012.
- What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, 2012 - ISBN 978-0399158544
- The Last Time As We Are, 2009 - ISBN 978-0982148839
- What Learning Leaves, 2002 - ISBN 1-887012-17-6
- Icarus Airlines, 2007
- Conviction, 2003
- Poems from the Like Free Zone, 2000
- The Difference Between Left & Wrong, 1995
Collections in which Taylor Mali's work is included
- Poetry on Stage: At the Red Barn Theatre, Key West, 1995 ISBN 978-1-888036-00-8
- Poetry Nation: The North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry, 1998, ISBN 1-55065-112-9
- Will Work For Peace: New Political Poems, 1999, ISBN 0-9666459-1-X
- Bearing Witness, 2001, ISBN 978-1-56976-130-4
- Freedom to Speak Anthology, 2002, ISBN 1-893972-07-0
- The Spoken Word Revolution 2003, ISBN 978-1-4022-0037-3
Collections in which Taylor Mali's work is included
- Attack of the Urbanabots (The Wordsmith Press, 2007)
- New High Score (The Wordsmith Press, 2004)
- Writers Week IX (WWIX, 2004)
- Best of Urbana 2003 (The Wordsmith Press, 2003)
- The Kerfuffle Incident: Best of the Kalamazoo Poetry Slam (KPS, 2003)
- Urbana: Bowery Poetry Club (The Wordsmith Press, 2002)
- Freedom to Speak Anthology(CD) (The Wordsmith Press, 2002)
- Spoken Word Underground (The Wordsmith Press, 2001)
- NYC Slams (Anthology) (PoetCD, 2000)
- American Fairy Tales, audiobook, 1998
- Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, audiobook, 2000
- Hope Along the Wind: The Story of Harry Hay, documentary, 2002
- Blizzard!, audiobook, 2003
- The Great Fire, audiobook, 2003
- Revenge of the Whale, audiobook, 2005
- ESCAPE! The Story of the Great Houdini, audiobook, 2006
- Close To Shore, audiobook, 2007
- 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002 - National Poetry Slam winning team
- 2001 - U. S. Comedy Arts Festival jury prize for best solo performance, "Teacher! Teacher!"
- 2003 - AudioFile Earphones Award for The Great Fire.
- Review of The Great Fire, AudioFile Magazine, Jun/Jul 2003
- Slam Poet's Muse is Teaching, Stacey Hollenbeck, Teacher Magazine, July 18, 2007
- Day Job: Teacher, Night Job: Poet, Instructor, Sep/Oct 2007, Vol. 117 Issue 2, p. 9
- Obituary: Jane L. Mali, New York Times, October 7, 1995.
- Vows: Marie-Elizabeth Mundheim and Taylor Mali, New York Times, May 28, 2006.
- Marie Elizabeth Mali FB blog concerning divorce
- Penguin Official Site: "What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World"
- Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe. (2008) Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. "Taylor Mali: The Man, The Myth, The Industry" page 266. Soft Skull Press, 288. ISBN 1-933368-82-9.
- The Quest for 1,000 New Teachers
- Official website
- Taylor Mali at the Internet Movie Database
- Taylor Mali's channel on YouTube
- Taylor Mali profile, Famecast web site
- Podcasts of poems
- Watch Taylor Mali recite his poems at Open-Door Poetry
- Audio of "What Teachers Make," "Like Lilly Like Wilson," "The Entire Act of Sorrow," "Depression Too Is a Kind of Fire," "Holding Your Position," "For the Life of Me," and "How To Write a Political Poem" (among others) on Indiefeed Performance Poetry Channel
Mali posts videos on his channel at YouTube of his own and other performances:
- Like You Know on YouTube
- What Teachers Make on YouTube
- The Impotence of Proofreading on YouTube
- Like Lilly Like Wilson on YouTube