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What Learning Leaves Paperback – Unknown format, July 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-1887012171 ISBN-10: 1887012176 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Hanover Press (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887012176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887012171
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Mali is a ranting comic showman and a literary provocateur. -- The New York Times

Taylor Mali speaks of the world of the teacher with power and grace. His voice is our voice. -- Michele Forman, 2001 National Teacher of the Year

About the Author

A passionate teacher and enthusiastic proponent of performance poetry, Taylor Mali is the only person to have won the national poetry slam championship three times. He has been featured twice on the HBO series "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry."

More About the Author

Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement. He is one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of "poet." Articulate, accessible, passionate, and downright funny, Mali studied drama in Oxford with members of The Royal Shakespeare Company and puts those skills of presentation to work in all his performances. He was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and was the "Armani-clad villain" of Paul Devlin's 1997 documentary film SlamNation.

Born in New York City into a family some of whose members have lived there since the early 1600s, Taylor Mali is an unapologetic WASP, making him a rare entity in spoken word, which is often considered to be an art form influenced by the inner city and dominated either by poets of color or otherwise imbued with the spirit of hip-hop.

Mali is vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having 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 has a goal of creating 1,000 new teachers through "poetry, persuasion, and perseverance."

He 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 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 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).

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend this book, whether you're the child of a teacher or not.
R. McKee
This book is great for fans of Taylor Mali, lovers of slam poetry, or as a gift for anybody who says no one is writing good poetry these days.
Kevin L. Nenstiel
He writes poems that can at once entertain and, upon repeated readings, give the reader some bigger things to think about.
N. Krumpe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scandalous Sanity VINE VOICE on September 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
I find it rather difficult to adequately describe Taylor Mali's book, What Learning Leaves. How can a reader poetically describe a poet? I'm not sure one can, so I'll leave the poetical language to Mr. Mali.

I recently learned about the Poetry Slam scene, and it has fascinated me. The power of the spoken word ignites within me a fire that is unquenched by mere penmanship, and I'm sure you would be the same after you hear a poet slam a poem out. Taylor Mali is one of the best, and simply reading his work gives me a whole new respect for him.

The theme of the majority of his poems is education, which include What Teachers Make, Like Lilly Like Wilson, and First Day of School. But he also explores love, grief, and everydayness. While these are different for me, because I've only heard/seen his educational related poems, they still have a tone of authority that demands one see that there is something in these things to be learned as well. It's really beautiful.

While Mali is primarily known as a performance poet, he shows off his superb writing skills, as well as uncanny wit, in some of the poems included in this collection. These include On the removal of the antonym section, Poet teaching Math and History, and The the impotence of proofreading. All of these are hilarious even if you never hear Mali perform them. (I always enjoy watching people laugh while reading because I'm sure somewhere somebody who sticks to the "dumb box" is upset that they cannot have the same pleasure)

I would recommend this book to anybody. It will open them up to poetry in general, as well as the Slam Poetry scene. And, personally, I think it's time we place a little more importance on the arts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book collects the high points from the career of performance poet Taylor Mali. All his classics are here: What Teachers Make, Like Lilly Like Wilson, Playing Scrabble With Eddie. Many of his other poems in this book have a narrower audience, but are probably already well known if you consciously follow the performance poetry scene. This volume was published in 2002, so more recent show-stoppers like How to Write a Political Poem aren't in here; however, the poems that made his name in the 1990's are pretty much all here.

The largest section of this book is comprised of poems on teaching. These are the books that made Mali famous, of course. But there is also a section of surprisingly touching love poems and a section on loss and grief. Because these poems mostly lack his trademark goofy wit, they lack the legendary following of his most famous poems, but they arguably translate better to the page, and reflect a lesser known side of the renowned poetry jokester.

Not all of these performance poems seamlessly translate to the page. What Teachers Make, for instance, requires parenthetical notes for clarification. And some of the short poems, like Gene Pool and Because My Students Asked Me, seem abrupt and corny. It's almost worth more to regard these poems as scripts for a theatrical performance than to see them as poems like Eliot and Ginsberg would have written. But they are still entertaining and instructive to read.

This book is great for fans of Taylor Mali, lovers of slam poetry, or as a gift for anybody who says no one is writing good poetry these days. I've read dark fingerprints into the pages of my volume. You will probably read your copy to pieces. It's that good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Garcia on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have been searching for this book for a while, it's out of print and Amazon was the only one who carried it. Great condition, fast delivery, and of course the book is just excellent. As an aspiring teacher it speaks to a place in my heart that I hold in deep passion. Mali's words are fully expressive on what it means to be an educator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aes1987 on February 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Taylor Mali takes the lead with his book "What Learning Leaves." A former teacher, Mali uses his experiences with his students to have a real effect on the audience/reader. For some of his poems, it really must be heard outloud, however - in this book, most of his poems work amazingly well on paper. His best in the book are: Like Lily Like Wilson, and Poet Teaching Math and History.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Krumpe TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was a summer reading assignment for all incoming first year students at Miami University in 2009. Like other authors of previous years' summer reading assignments, Taylor Mali then visited and spoke at Miami's convocation to mark the beginning of our academic year. His 20-minute talk, which blurred the boundaries between poetry from his book and plain old talking, was wonderful. Many faculty who had attended similar convocations at Miami over the past several years said that this book and Taylor Mali's talk were the best Miami had ever had.

One of Taylor Mali's goals, as evidenced both by his writing style and by the fact that he "performs" his poetry, is to make poetry accessible. He writes poems that can at once entertain and, upon repeated readings, give the reader some bigger things to think about.

If you are doubting whether to buy this book, search for a video of Taylor Mali performing his "What Teachers Make". Then, trust that you will enjoy the rest of his poems as much as the video.
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