Blackbird Festival presents Taylor Mali
joined by poets Chris August and Steve Mandes
Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), in partnership with Howard Community College’s Office of Student Life, English and World Languages Division, and Arts & Humanities Division, presents the annual Blackbird Poetry Festival on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at Howard Community College. The all-day event features readings by Taylor Mali, Chris August, and Steve Mandes. The festival will also include readings by student poets from HCC and on-campus patrols by the Poetry Police, who will award individuals carrying a poem in recognition of national Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Morningbird: Kittleman Room (DH 100) from 11am-12:20
Sunbird: Smith Theater from 2:30pm-4:30pm
Nightbird: Smith Theater from 7pm-8:30pm
Tickets to Nightbird are $50 for the first five rows in the center aisle and $30 for orchestra and balcony ($15 for students). Tickets can be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/523094 or www.hocopolitso.org. For more information, call HoCoPoLitSo at (443) 518-4568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taylor Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having himself spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his 12-year long Quest for One Thousand Teachers, completed in April of 2012, helped create 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance,” an achievement Mali commemorated by donating 12″ of his hair to the American Cancer Society.
Mali is the author of What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, two other books of poetry, The Last Time As We Are and What Learning Leaves, and most recently Bouquet of Red Flags. 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).
WATCH Taylor Mali perform his poetry:
Chris August, 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam champion, is a writer, activist, and former special educator from Baltimore, Maryland. A frequent spoken-word performer around the country, he has also represented the United States at the Poetry World Cup held in Paris, France and was a featured opening performer at ‘Howl’ in the City in 2010.
Steve Mandes (a Blackbird alum from the very first festival in 2009) is a teacher, poet, and fiction writer. He received his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Baltimore. His poems have appeared in Barbaric Yulp, The Unknown Writer, The Muse, Welter, The Red River Review, Prick of the Spindle and Xanadu, and he is the author of Kiss Big Life.