Taylor Mali is a teacher and poet. Generally considered to be the most successful poetry slam strategist of all time, having led six of his seven national poetry slam teams to the finals stage and winning the championship itself a record four times before anyone had even tied him at three, Mali was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO original series "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry." He was also the "golden-tongued, Armani clad villain" of Paul Devlin's 1997 documentary film "SlamNation," which chronicled the National Poetry Slam Championship of 1996, the year of Mali's first national team championship.
A native of New York City and vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, Mali himself spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world. 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 U. S. Comedy Arts Festival.
Formerly president of Poetry Slam Incorporated, 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 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) and is also the author of several books and cds of original poetry and spoken word.
I want to help reform education in America from top to bottom. I want to be part of the movement that makes an entire generation of college graduates consider teaching before business or law school. I want to help support responsible alternative paths to certification so as to make it easier for smart, successful, and qualified people in their 30s and older to become teachers. I want to get America ready for the Education Tax if it turns out that’s what we need. But most of all, I want to be a spokesman for teaching's nobility, one of the poets laureate of passion in the classroom.