Feb 122013

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali

Poet Taylor Mali is visiting the Lawrence Academy campus in Groton today, and the school has invited the community to attend Mali”s closing presentation in the school”s Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center this evening, February 12, at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend and to meet with the poet over refreshments after the program.

Mali is this year”s J. William Mees Visiting Scholar. He is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of few people in the world to have no job other than that of poet.

Mali will visit with students and teachers for poetry workshops during classes on February 11 and 12.

The visiting scholar program is made possible by the J. William Mees Visiting Scholar Endowment Fund.

Meeting Taylor Mali

It”s 7:30 a.m. The smell of eggs and sausages permeate through the air as students sheepishly enter the dining hall for breakfast. Everything feels the same, but I”m expecting something more.

While adolescents drag themselves to the coffee station, I”m on a mission. My eyes scan the hall for my target, but the search is in vain. He isn”t here. I return to my regular table and eat my regular breakfast with my regular breakfast companions.

I think back on Mr. Moore”s email. He said that Taylor Mali would be eating breakfast here in the dining hall at 7:30.

I feel a little betrayed. I was hoping I would be able to sneak myself into the meal and finally meet my favorite poet. I accept the fact that he”s probably having a private breakfast in Park House with Mr. Moore and Mr. Scheibe.

My eyes glance towards the dining hall doors and everything stops. I see him move into the building. He”s here, Taylor Mali is here. I stay in my seat as Mr. Moore and Taylor enter the dining hall, not wanting to come off too strong. When Taylor goes to get his breakfast, my companions and I move to his table. It”s really happening, I”m about to have breakfast with The Taylor Mali.

He joins us with food in plate, takes a moment to learn our names, and begins friendly breakfast discussion. The conversation transitions from travelling to Ireland to the papacy. I tell Taylor about LA”s Winterim program and my breakfast companion, Jimmy Lawrence, quickly summarizes his introduction for the poet.

Eventually our time comes to an end and we make our way towards assembly. Though the breakfast has ended, our time has not. After an amazing assembly featuring Taylor Mali performing “Miracle Workers” and “Tommy Steinberg: Brave Seventh Grade Viking Warrior” I speak to him one more time.

I tell him about the LA Junior Poetry Recitation and how a student my freshman year recited the poem about the Viking warrior. I go on to explain how that set the ball rolling towards the eventual “banning” of Mr. Mali”s poems.

He asks if it”s because of the language being bad. I reply by saying, “No, it”s because of the language being good.” Any student who has ever chosen a Taylor Mali poem for the recitation has had their chances of winning multiplied.

He understands, shakes my hand, and leaves.

For a moment I believe that our time together has truly ended, but then I remember: he”s going to have breakfast again in the dining hall tomorrow.

—Joe Casper ’13

For more information about his visit, email Asst. Head of School Rob Moore at rcmoore@lacademy.edu.