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The George Edward Tait Poetry Reading and Workshop Series
- Thursday, December 12, 2013, 12 - 2 p.m.
- Thursday, December 19, 2013, 12 - 2 p.m.
George Edward Tait was born in Oakland, California and raised in Harlem. He graduated from Pace University in 1968 with a B.A. in English Language and Literature and a minor in French Language and Literature after being a member of the literary society and The Pace Press. From 1968-1972, he taught and tutored English at Queens College while conducting Creative Writing workshops. After defining poetry as the music of literature and music as the poetry of sound, Tait became a bandleader from 1972 to 1977 - spearheading a group called Black Massical Music.
In 1975, Tait founded The Society of Afrikan Poets and produced a seven year series of weekly poetry readings entitled Black Words for a Wednesday Night which ended in 1982. This series featured such world renowned activists, artists, poets, and scholars as Amiri Baraka, Rich Bartee, Black Rose, John Watusi Branch, Elombe Brath, Cheryl Byron, Ben Caldwell, Jayne Cortez, Fatisha, Ruth Garnett, Hattie Gossett, Ted Joans, Gylan Kain, Layding Kaliba, Basir Mchawi, Rosemari Mealy, Queen Mother Moore, Abbey Lincoln Aminata Moseka, Duma Ndlovu, David Nelson, Jemisi Obanjoko, Abiodun Oyewole, Raymond Patterson, Louis Reyes Rivera, Carlos Russell, Sonia Sanchez, Abiola Sinclair, Sekou Sundiata, Dr. Lonnetta Marie Taylor-Gaines, Leon Thomas, Quincy Troupe, Ron Welburn, and Preston Wilcox.
In the summer of 1982, two of Tait's poems were published in Steppingstones: A Literary Anthology Toward Liberation, edited by James B. Gwynne. And while teaching at Malcolm-King College (1981-1986), his first volume of poetry At War was published in 1983, the same year he was named The Poet Laureate of Afrikan Nationalism by leaders of the nationalist community, a title he still holds twenty-nine years later (2012).
Other poetry titles include Poet Laureate of The Black Nation, Poet Laureate of Harlem, Poet Laureate of the National Conference of Artists, Poet Laureate of the School of African Philosophy, Co-Poet Laureate of CEMOTAP, Director of Literary Services for Afrikan Poetry Theater, Poet-in-Residence of the Genesis II Museum of International Black Culture, Poet-in-Residence of Harlem Branch Library, Poet-in-Residence of Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, Resident Poet of Attitude - The Dancer's Magazine, and the Personal Poet Laureate of Herman Ferguson.
Several of Tait's poems and articles were published by the New York Amsterdam News between 1979 and 1997. During this period, another volume of poetry At Arms was published in 1992 in addition to his work being included in Herb Boyd's landmark anthology Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America (1995).
In 2001, he was a contributor to the anthology Bum Rush The Page: A Def Poetry Jam, edited by Tony Medina and Louis Reyes Rivera. And in 2003, his chapbook The Baker's Dozen: Selected Dance Poetry of George Edward Tait was published by Dance Giant Steps.
Tait insists that the poet must be historian, journalist, and prophet. As such, he has incorporated these three aspects in a soon-to-be published metaphysical opus entitled Sunsight: Contemporary Patterns of Cosmic Phenomena.” In the year 2010 he completed the third part of his monumental trilogy, Swordsongs: Selected Poetry of George Edward Tait, which commenced with At War and continued with At Arms. The year 2010 additionally represented Tait's 50th year as a poet and his 40th year conducting poetry workshops. Swordsongs was released in 2011. In 2011, Tait was named Poet Laureate of the Black Nation by the Republic of New Afrika.
And in 2012, George Edward Tait celebrated his 50th year in the struggle for Afrikan liberation. POETCETERA is a 2013 year-long tour, in celebration of the 30th year that George Edward Tait has served as the Poet Laureate of Harlem.
George Edward Tait is a multi-talented musician, educator, storyteller and activist who has performed his poetry thousands of times for over a quarter century in a variety of venues, including colleges, community centers, libraries, and theaters. Moreover, besides Malcolm-King College and Queens College, his thirty years plus poetry teaching credentials include Afrikan Functional Theater, Afrikan Poetry Theater, African American Museum, Bridges Juvenile Center, Bronx Writers' Center, Carter G. Woodson Cultural Literacy Project, Crossroads Juvenile Center, Eight Plus Academy, Genesis II Museum for International Black Culture, Graham Windham, Harlem Branch Library, Horizon Juvenile Center, International Arts Business School, Jobs for Youth Apprenticeship Program, Lorraine Monroe Leadership Institute, Medgar Evers College, Museum for African Art, Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, and Willoughby Senior Center. Many of these engagements were made possible with the support of Poets & Writers and Bronx Writers Corps.