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Taylor Mali, a nationally known slam poet and teacher, will perform at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5 [THURSDAY] in East Central University's Dorothy Summers Theatre as part of the Oklahoma Literary Arts Festival. The performance is free and open to the public.

Mali is generally considered to be the most successful poetry slam strategist of all time, having won the National Poetry Slam a record four times. A poetry slam is a competition in which poets read or recite original work. Previously selected members of the audience then judge the performances.

He also was one of the original poets on HBO's "Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry." And since June of 2000, when he said goodbye to his last 6th grade homeroom class, Mali has made a living as a poet, traveling the country and the world, reciting, reading, teaching and lecturing about poetry.

Because of his dynamic performance style and practiced articulation, it comes as no surprise to many that Mali attended drama school at Oxford University. His one-man show "Teacher! Teacher!" won the jury prize for best solo performance at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in 2002.

Mali has released one book of poetry, "What Learning Leaves," one DVD, "Taylor Mali & Friends: Live at the Bowery Poetry Club;" and four CDs of spoken word, most recently "Icarus Airlines." A YouTube video of his performance of "What Teachers Make" has been viewed almost one million times.

ECU's Department of English and Languages and Center of Continuing Education and Community Services host the Oklahoma Literary Arts Festival annually for area high school students. The festival is sponsored in part by the Scissortail Arts Series with additional support from the ECU Cultural Activities Committee, the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English and the Oklahoma Arts Council.

The festival's morning sessions for area high school students discuss art, literature and drama. Workshops also are provided for the teachers. Mali will perform at noon in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center's Ataloa Theatre for the students and teachers who registered for the festival by Oct. 27. Following both the day and evening performances, Mali's books and CDs will be available for purchase and signing.

For more information about the performance, contact Dr. Teresa Rothrock, 580-559-5439, or visit

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