Friday, January 2, 2009

Weekend's Writer: Taylor Mali

"No, but I do know that as a teacher snowballs are a huge problem to deal with because they always end in tears or blood or worse. If I hit you with a snowball in the chest then you have the right to retaliate. That's easy. But what if you miss? Do you have the right to hit me as bad as I hit you? What if you accidentally hit me in the face? Then I have the right to stab you in the eye with an icicle, right? It's a slippery slope." (taken from Mali's FAQ page)

I can't remember exactly how I stumbled across Taylor Mali. I'm pretty sure a friend suggested his website several years ago when I was still in college. However it happened, it has been an enduring love affair...not because all of his poetry is exactly astounding (in fact, much of it isn't) but because he is fun, passionate, honest, confessional, real, raw, and uncut (well, I guess I don't really know that for sure). He is witty, comical, and snide, as well...which I like. I also appreciate that he made his way up the ranks through slams and really hard work. And he's a people's poet, not an academic, intellectual aristocrat who smatters a few unintelligable words across the parchment and calls it art...and damn anyone who doesn't get it. As a bonus, he was a teacher, so a lot of his poems are about things very near and dear to my heart. He's even made me shed a tear or two and he's definitely made my students laugh. We're grateful for that.

Just a few days ago, I stumbled across a goldmine on you tube. One led to another, which led to yet another live recording of Mali reading his own work. (There are 50 videos linked on his web page, which can be found in the right-hand column of this blog.)

I've selected two to share, but I entreat you to move on and enjoy the rest. What fun to play in blooming fields of daisies without the fear of being stung.

Happy perusing!

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