Keynote Speakers

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali Evening Performance Information

A poet and a teacher, Taylor 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. He was also one of the original poets on HBO’s Russell Simmons presents "Def Poetry". Taylor is also the curator of the Page Meets Stage series that takes place at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. And since June of 2000, when he said goodbye to his last sixth 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). And this poet has never strayed too far from the theater. His one-man show “Teacher! Teacher!” won the jury prize for best solo performance at the U. S. Comedy Arts Festival in 2002. Taylor Mali is a tenth-generation New Yorker with an M.A. in English literature who loved teaching math at a private school in Manhattan. “There is a poetry in numbers unlike any that can be found in words,” he says. Mali spent nine years in the classroom and has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world.

Taylor 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. He was also the "golden-tongued, Armani clad villain" of Paul Devlin's documentary film "SlamNation," which chronicled the National Poetry Slam Championship of 1996.

“I want to reform education in America from top to bottom. I want to be the individual responsible for making an entire generation of college graduates consider teaching before business or law school. I want to get America ready for an Education Tax if that's what it's going to take. But most of all, I want to be the spokesman for teaching's nobility, the poet laureate of passion in the classroom.”
—Taylor Mali

Taylors' Website and Other Links:

Stephen Belber

Acclaimed playwright, screenplay writer and director Stephen Belber will speak at 4 pm Wednesday October 7th, 2009. His plays include Geometry of Fire, (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Fault Lines, (Naked Angels/Cherry Lane), A Small, Melodramatic Story, (LAByrinth Theater Company), McReele (Roundabout), Match (Broadway, Tony nomination for Frank Langella), Tape (Naked Angels--NYC/LA/London), The Laramie Project (Associate Writer), Carol Mulroney (Huntington Theater), One Million Butterflies (Primary Stages), Drifting Elegant (Magic Theater), The Transparency of Val (Theater Outrageous, NYC), The Wake (Via Theater, NYC), Through Fred (Soho Rep) and The Death of Frank (Araca Group, NYC). As a screenwriter, he wrote Tape, directed by Richard Linklater, starring Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke (Sundance; Berlin); The Laramie Project (Associate Writer) for HBO Films, (Sundance, Emmy nomination for screenwriting); and Drifting Elegant, directed by Amy Glazer. He also wrote and directed his first feature, Management, starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Zahn and Woody Harrelson, which premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival and is due out this spring. Among other projects, he is currently developing a screenplay based on McReele, for Will Smith’s Overbrook production company. TV credits include Rescue Me and Law & Order SVU, (staff writer). He has received commissions from Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, The Huntington Theater, Arena Stage and Philadelphia Theater Company.


Written by Stephen Belber

Best friends since high school, Vince, a volunteer fireman, and Jon, a filmmaker, meet at a Motel 6 in Lansing, Michigan for the weekend. Jon expects that he and Vince will have dinner later that night and Vince will see Jon’s film the next day. Vince has other plans. He steers the conversation to a night ten years ago that involved Jon and Amy, Vince’s old girlfriend. After a heated accusation revolving around what may or may not have been a rape, Vince reveals that Amy, who unbeknownst to them is now an attorney, is on her way over to meet him for dinner. Simple explanations of the past event dissolve into blurred memories and changing answers, forcing us to reexamine reality under the weight of perception -- with Amy’s arrival raising the stakes for all of them.

The official performance of TAPE by Stephen Belber for the conference will be presented on Wednesday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the New Theater on the ISU campus, next to Cunningham Library

An alternative time for those at the Conference is: Tuesday, October 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the New Theater.

The cost for tickets is $7.00. Those interested in purchasing tickets should call the Theater ticket office at 237-3333. For further information, contact publicist Paige Biggs at 237-3334.