Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review: What Learning Leaves, by Taylor Mali

A collection of poems about teaching, love, and dogs.


Taylor Mali is a former teacher and classically trained actor who now makes his living as a professional poet. One of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, he is a veteran of the poetry slam and the author of What Learning Leaves and several spoken word CDs and DVDs. He lives and writes in New York City. For more information, visit

My Review:

The perfect book of poems for teachers and fans of learning. I'm a huge fan of Taylor Mali. A couple favorites of mine, "What Teachers Make" and "Girls lending pens" are available on youtube, as well as "The the Impotence of Proofreading". 

Taylor Mali will take you from laughing so hard, you're stopping just short of rolling on the floor (though you can still text your friends "ROTFL at Taylor Mali's awesome poems" and they MIGHT believe you) and then turn around and bring you to the realities of life, to grief, and anger, until you're wondering: Is this the same guy?

It is.

One poem that I found on youtube but didn't find in this book was "I'll fight you for the Library; a poem in four letters." Go ahead and find it, and see if you don't absolutely fall in love.

While the poems are amazing, they don't compare to hearing Mali recite them himself. If you head on over to, you can also get his CDs. And I thoroughly recommend you do just that.

On goodreads, I have listed this book under 'favorites' and 'Author Idols'; my rating should come as no surprise.

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

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