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September 6, 2008

two slam poets you may not know

...but i love em :: Taylor Mali and Rives :: click below ::

Taylor Mali:


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Comments (20)

I've seen several versions of Taylor Mali reciting this poem for the last couple of years. This delivery seems a little bit off, and it's a bit "toned down" from previous versions I have seen. He's also altered the end. He used to go back to the dinner table setting to answer the lawyer directly, and said, "I make a god Damned difference, now what about you?" In this version, he is specific throughout his poem as to what it is he makes as a teacher, but then at the end, generalizes it as all "Teacher's make a God Damned difference," and then points to the audience when asking "What about you?" To me, this is not as strong as turning it around on the lawyer from the beginning on the poem as I have seen it performed previously.

Posted by: Gifa at September 6, 2008 2:26 PM

probably the best youtube videos I've ever seen. I especially like Taylor Mali

Posted by: astrozombie at September 6, 2008 5:25 PM

I like Rives. I can accept calling his performances poetic. Taylor not so much.

Posted by: grimeden at September 6, 2008 9:10 PM


Posted by: Gen at September 6, 2008 10:57 PM

They’re both amazing! Loved Rives’ TED talks as well. If you haven’t seen them check them out.

Posted by: Kirsi at September 7, 2008 4:17 AM

wow, ze, outstanding find. as a new teacher -- thanks for these.

Posted by: don josué at September 7, 2008 10:19 AM

After watching them both, the only word that *I'm* left with is "Wow..."

Posted by: Tracy at September 7, 2008 1:43 PM

taylor is the very essence of the slam poet.

rives does score well, extremely well, but
i think of him more as an "anti-slam" poet.

glad to see some performance poets have
gained the attention of a creative genius...


Posted by: bowerbird at September 7, 2008 2:40 PM

Hey Ze, I found Rives when I stumbled on him at TED.com. I'm glad other people like him too. I hope you've looked at his website and seen the rest of his work and especially this:


and this:

There's too much to link so I'll stop.

Posted by: Sarah Woolley at September 7, 2008 7:39 PM

That Rives clip just did to me exactly what poetry is supposed to do: move the listener/observer to water-eyed, gape-mouthed amazement.

Posted by: Jerome at September 8, 2008 12:10 AM

Excellent choices, they both also have channels BTW :)


Posted by: Tyson at September 8, 2008 5:51 AM

Absolutely brilliant...both of them!

Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Adam at September 8, 2008 8:05 AM

I want to be a teacher now. How many times have we wished we were ready (and able) with a response like that?

Posted by: Gus at September 8, 2008 12:22 PM

taylor mali is brilliance on legs.

Posted by: lizzie at September 8, 2008 7:45 PM

Bummer: the vids have been taken down.

Posted by: sadly at September 8, 2008 10:12 PM

dude 1 looks lot like u

Posted by: yomama at September 9, 2008 5:36 AM

Hey Ze,

I didn't know Taylor Mali yet, but you're right; he's awsome!
I knew Rivers allready though, his two appearances on TED (especially the 4am piece) are fantastic!

Posted by: Luc at September 9, 2008 8:22 AM

I put off watching these for a few visits because of an aversion to the typical "slam poet" style and the

But I trust you Ze, so I gave these a try. Ahh, these guys didn't do that self absorbed thinnnngggg. They told stories; they were poetic - they are inspiring! Thank you!

Posted by: jeano at September 10, 2008 8:26 PM

What I've noticed about slam poetry is that the "poets" have a certain manner of speaking and emphasis. It's more of an play than poetry really.

I dislike the delivery. Maybe the words are fine, but the delivery is too FOCUSED, on EMPHASIZING, certain WORDS, kind of RIDICULOUS, you KNOW?

Posted by: omouse at September 12, 2008 1:24 AM

i saw rives at a poetry slam invitational called the Ill List in Modesto, CA back in 2004 and he did an on-the-spot free flow about our city and it was breathtaking. he does another beautiful poem: kite.

you got me in the rives mood and i was perusing his website "shoplisftwindchimes" which is a brilliant website if i've ever heard one....and thought the photos on his blog were inspiring...if even to view life from a different angle for a day.


might spark an interesting project about people on subways?

Posted by: jenn at September 18, 2008 10:36 AM

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