PORTLAND —“Three Class Acts, An Evening of Poetry and Performance,” featuring nationally renowned slam poet and performance artist Taylor Mali, will be presented Sunday, June 3, at the University of New England.

Mali will be joined by Maine poets Elizabeth Peavey and Gary Lawless at the event benefiting the Cobscook Community Learning Center based in Washington County.

The three poets, who are also teachers, will share their words through readings and performance pieces beginning at 7 p.m. in Ludcke Auditorium.

Mali is one of the best-known poets to emerge from the poetry slam movement. He is a veteran of the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam” and has won the National Poetry Slam championship four times. 

He spent nine years as a classroom teacher and is an advocate for the CCLC, which offers innovative, experiential learning opportunities for people in Down East Maine. Mali’s latest book, “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World,” released in March, is an impassioned defense of teachers and why they are needed more than ever. 

“It’s one thing for me to write inspirational poems about the art of teaching and broadening educational opportunities for all different types of learners, but places like the Cobscook Community Learning Center actually do these things year after year,” Mali said. “So there is really only one question I had to ask myself: Why on earth would I not do this event?”

Peavey is a Maine-based writer and teacher. Her one-woman show, “My Mother’s Clothes Are Not My Mother,” premiered in Portland last fall to sold-out houses and is currently touring the state. Her latest book, “Glorious Slow Going: Maine Stories of Art, Adventure and Friendship,” a collaboration with renowned landscape painter Marguerite Robichaux, was released in late 2011. Her most recent humor column, “Outta My Yard,” can be found at thebollard.com. She lives in Portland with her husband and bossy cat.

Lawless is co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick. He has published 21 collections of poetry and has given readings and workshops in the United States,  Italy, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuana, Germany and Cuba. He regularly participates in poetry programs in area schools and has received numerous grants and awards. He  lives with his partner in Nobleboro as caretaker of Chimney Farm, a property with a long history of being home to Maine’s poets.

Tickets are $15 per person/$12 for students with ID. Additionally, tickets, $35, are available for a preperformance reception with the poets, which includes preferred seating at the show. For tickets, call 733-2233 or visit www.thecclc.org.


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