|Marie Elizabeth Mali|
They presented a well prepared set of poems beginning with a bilingual recitation (she recited the Spanish, he the English translation) of a love poem by Neruda which set the tone for what was to come. Two people not only perform together, they live together, and love each other. I have never seen anything like it before. It was almost too good to be true: two attractive, accomplished, funny and charming people who both write well and perform well together.
Taylor Mali is the more practiced performer, with his big voice and persona. He could command a stage as big as Yankee Stadium, so the small reading room in the Narrowsburg library was very cozy and intimate a stage for a poet whose poem about how to write a political poem begins “However it begins, it’s gotta be loud.” His poems about teaching have inspired over 700 people to become teachers, and when he hears from 1,000 (hopefully by the end of August of this year), he will cut his hair and donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a hair donation organization for women with cancer. Even though he is best known for the poem, “What Teachers Make,” he did not read it, closing instead with “The The Impotence of Proofreading.” Marie Elizabeth Mali is no less accomplished a writer, but her subjects are more diverse and influenced by her background of Argentinian-Swedish family.
First there was the usual First Fridays open mike reading, with ten readers, closing with Vera Williams who recited her poem about how to make a peach sandwich. Master of ceremonies was as always the charming Corinna, a teen, whose mother manages the programing at First Fridays. Corinna recited one of her own poems, and then cheerleaded the rest of the readers.