Taylor Mali: Slam Poet And Education Advocate

March 28 marks the birthday of legendary Taylor Mali: a slam poet, humorist, and proud educator.

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This March 28 marks the birthday of Taylor Mali, the famous American slam poet and writer. A master of wit and the spoken word, he is also a passionate educator who emphasizes the importance of teaching. To celebrate his 57th, let’s take a look at the life and achievements of Mali and the inspiration he passes onto other educators.

Taylor Mali - Wikipedia

Early Life and Education

As a New York native, Mali was born in New York City. He attended a private school for boys and later received a Bachelor’s in English at Bowdoin College. Later, he received a Master’s in English and Creative Writing at Kansas State. He seems to have inherited some writing genes, as his mother was a children’s book author!


Mali has authored books and poems, winning several poetry contests through his career, including awards for Nation Poetry Slam competition. His most famous poem is “What Teachers Make” and “Teacher! Teacher!” In addition, he narrated for several children’s audiobooks!

Today, Mali hosts workshops around the world where he lectures students and teachers about the value in education and the “nobility of teaching.”

Fun fact: Did you know that Mali’s great-great-grandfather, John Taylor Johnston, founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Very great, indeed!

Where do I check him out?

Great question! On his website Taylormali.com, you can see his current ventures hosting workshops to inspire other educators about the importance of their profession. His books are also featured on his website, and fans can get some of his works, including:

Late Father and Other Poems


“Late Father & Other Poems” captures the essence of parenting and parenthood through Mali’s poetry. Reflecting on the loss of his own father long ago, Mali provides his own perspective about being a father through the pages.

What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Great Job in the World

What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World by Taylor  Mali, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

As mentioned, Mali is a passionate advocate for recognizing the role of teachers in our society. “What Teachers Make” captures this, discussing the importance of education and making us reflect on what our teachers provided for our own knowledge and growth. If you have a teacher you want to gift something for, this would be a valuable option!