Tara Betts
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Tara Betts


Band Spoken Word Hip Hop


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"e-poets.net on Tara Betts"

"Betts' consideration of her language and the study she invests behind it is becoming well-known."
- Kurt Heintz

"CompulsiveReader.com on Tara Betts"

"Tara Betts' moving poem "Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamp," traces the forgotten lives, using repetition and rhythm as incantation: 'Backs bent to acquiesce as a road or ramp./Waters subsume histories like regret./Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamp.' (73) This is an ode to those who changed the world in obscurity, died, forgotten, or disappeared under a mountain of glory afforded to other 'names'--the rich and beautiful faces we see on t-shirts or television screens."

- Magdalena Ball

"Rives on Tara Betts"

"Tara Betts is all sugar cane and then some. "
- Rives, HBO Def Poet & children's author - www.shopliftwindchimes.com

"Tayari Jones on Tara Betts"

"Tara Betts represents the best things about public poetry. She's an artist growing, changing and learning...She didn't play to the crowd for laughs or applause, but came with her truth in all of its vulnerable beauty."
- Tayari Jones, author of "Leaving Atlanta" and "The Untelling"
- www.tayarijones.com

"Luis Rodriguez on Tara Betts"

"An amazing poet in her own right."
- Luis Rodriguez, author of "Always Running" - www.luisjrodriguez.com

"Patricia Smith on Tara Betts"

"Tara Jean Betts (I call her full name 'cause the syllables are the same as hallelujah) has crafted a manual of sweet lyric, corner doowop and unsettling truths, an unerring guidebook for the colored girl who is born into several worlds at once. Praise this raging poetess for trumpeting that hidden voice, for baring its blade edges and giving it space to scream. The poems of Tara Jean are too true to be kept secret, and too stunning to be denied."
- Patricia Smith, 4-time National Poetry Slam champion and winner of the National Poetry Series for the collection "Teahouse of the Almighty"

- www.wordwoman.ws


Switch, New Skool Poetics, naivete records



Tara Betts, writer/educator/performer, appeared on HBO's "Def Poetry Jam," in the SouthWest VDay production of Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues" at Chicago's DuSable Museum, and the Black Family Channel series "SPOKEN" with jessica Care moore.

After winning Guild Complex's Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, Tara published her collection of poems "Can I Hang?" She represented Chicago twice at the National Poetry Slam. She has performed her work in Cuba, London, New York, the West Coast and throughout the Midwest at venues such as Arie Crown Theater, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Studio Museum of Harlem, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Bar 13, Yerba Buena Cultural Center, The Metro, The Hip Hop Theater Festival, Ladyfest Midwest, the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago Cultural Center, poetry slams, conferences, several universities and numerous public, private and alternative schools. She has shared the stage with Patricia Smith, Rosellen Brown, Afaa Michael Weaver, Kwame Dawes, Luis Rodriguez, MC Lyte, Ruby Dee, Suheir Hammad and Grammy-winner Jill Scott.

Tara's work has appeared in Essence magazine, the Steppenwolf Theater production "Words on Fire," Obsidian III, Callaloo and Columbia Poetry Review. Her work has been anthologized in Gathering Ground (University of Michigan Press), Bum Rush the Page (Three Rivers Press), The Spoken Word Revolution (Sourcebooks), Power Lines (Tia Chucha Press), Poetry Slam (Manic D Press), ROLE CALL (Third World Press), Best Black Women's Erotica 2 (Cleis Press), Bowery Women (Bowery Books) and Hurricane Blues: How Katrina and Rita Ravaged a Nation (Southeast Missouri University Press). Her work will also appear in the upcoming anthologies Thomas Sayers Ellis' Breakfast and Blackfist: Notes for Black Poets (University of Michigan Press), Wompology (Red Hen Press) and a companion book for the Without Sanctuary exhibit.

In addition to her experiences with page and the stage, Tara Betts teaches creative writing at Rutgers University and continues to teach and encourage literacy by working with arts programs such as Urban Word NYC and DreamYard. In Chicago, she was an influential educator through Young Chicago Authors and the internationally-acclaimed Gallery 37. Tara co-founded GirlSpeak, a weekly writing/leadership workshop for young women. She has also conducted short-term workshops in schools, community centers, Ms. Foundation, City Girls (a substance abuse rehabilitation center for teen girls), Cook County Jail and Cook County Juvenile Detention Center and at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus. Tara is a Cave Canem alum and a graduate of the MFA Program in Poetry at New England College. She has received residencies from Ragdale Foundation, Centrum and Caldera and an Illinois Arts Council Artist fellowship. Tara Betts is the author of "SWITCH."

Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
Bridgewater State College (Bridgewater, MA)
Hunter College (New York, NY)
Cooper Union (New York, NY)
Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
Howard University (Washington, DC)
Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Lehman College (Bronx, NY)
Long Island University (Brooklyn, NY)
Yale University (New Haven, CT)
James Madison University (Lynchburg, VA)
Miami University (Oxford, OH)
Northwestern University School of Law (Chicago, IL)
Chicago State University
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
St. Edward's University (Austin, TX)
Spelman College (Atlanta, GA)
San Francisco State University
University of Illinois @ Urbana/Champaign
Wright College (Chicago, IL)
Loyola University (Chicago, IL)
University of Chicago
Purdue University (Indiana)
University of Michigan at Dearborn
University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point
University of Illinois at Chicago
Northwestern School of Law (Chicago, IL)
Columbia College (Chicago, IL)
Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL)
Malcolm X College (Chicago, IL)