Tara Betts
  • Female
  • New York & New Jersey
  • United States
  • Tara Betts
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Profile Information

Business or Professional Name:
Tara Betts
About Me:
Tara Betts is a lecturer in creative writing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Tara Betts teaches writing and encourages literacy by working with arts programs such as Urban Word NYC. Tara, a Cave Canem graduate, received her MFA from New England College and residencies from Ragdale Foundation, Centrum and Caldera and an Illinois Arts Council Artist fellowship.

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, Louder Arts Project, Dodge Poets-in-the-Schools Program, Cooper Union and London's Roundhouse.

Tara Betts is the author of Arc and Hue (Aquarius Press/Willow Books, 2009). She has appeared at several conferences, festivals, and literary events. Her work has appeared in Essence, Obsidian III, Callaloo, PMS, Drum Voices Revue, Ninth Letter, Drunken Boat and Columbia Poetry Review, and Crab Orchard 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), Black Writing from Chicago (Southern Illinois University Press), ROLE CALL (Third World Press), These Hands I Know (Sarabande), Hurricane Blues: How Katrina and Rita Ravaged a Nation (Southeast Missouri University Press), Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism (Parker Publishing), Fingernails Across a Chalkboard (Third World Press) and Letters to the World (Red Hen Press). Her work will appear in Thomas Sayers Ellis' Breakfast and Blackfist: Notes for Black Poets (University of Michigan Press).
Tara has also been a freelance writer for XXL, The Source, Black Issues Book Review, Mosaic magazine, Black Radio Exclusive and other publications.

Tara appeared on HBO's "Def Poetry Jam" and the Black Family Channel series "SPOKEN" with Jessica Care Moore-Poole. She has also been one of the writers/performers in girlstory-an intergenerational, multicultural women's performance collective.
After winning Guild Complex's Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, Tara published her first chapbook "Can I Hang?" She also represented Chicago twice at the National Poetry Slam. She also coached and mentored countless young writers and performers that have participated in the Brave New Voices and Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slams.
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, Cornelia Street Café, Bowery Poetry Club, Yerba Buena Cultural Center, The Metro, The Hip Hop Theater Festival, Ladyfest Midwest, the Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, poetry slams, conferences, several colleges, universities and numerous public, private and alternative schools.
In addition to having her work adapted by the Steppenwolf Theater’s production “Words on Fire” and by Bianca Spriggs for "Follow the Drinking Gourd". Her work from “Fingernails Across a Chalkboard” and “That Takes Ovaries!” has been performed in theatrical adaptations.
City, State, or Country:
New York
Industry or Career Field:
Art/Entertainment, Research/Education, Non-profit/Community Building
Current Projects or Goals:
Working on my second book
Considering new teaching positions in the New York/New Jersey area.
My favorite things!
I tend to listen to all styles of music, the miracle of breath, laughter, the steady bass of heartbeats, children and the lulling patter of rain.
Gwendolyn Brooks, Patricia Smith, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Toni Cade Bambara, Marilyn Nelson, Lucille Clifton, Sonia Sanchez.
My Network Level:
Social, Business, Collaborative, Expert Knowledge, Career Building, Learning/Methods, Media Sharing
Products, Skills or Services:
Tara is available for consulting, readings, speaking engagements and hosting arts-related events.

Tara leads workshops on a variety of topics, including:
Creative Writing,
Performance Poetry,
Creative Nonfiction,
Poetic Forms from Communities of Color,
Women Writers,
African American Literature,
Interacial Identity.

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Tara Betts's Blog

9/20 party w/ Tara Betts & Mahogany Books DC!

Posted on August 24, 2010 at 7:23pm 0 Comments

MahoganyBooks is excited to bring world renowned poet and author, Tara Betts, to Washington, D.C. The event will take place at U-topia on Monday, September 20, 6:30 p.m.– 8:30 p.m. This event celebrates the one year anniversary of Tara Betts’ debut poetry collection, Arc & Hue.



Tara in Baltimore & D.C.

Posted on September 23, 2009 at 1:53pm 0 Comments

I'm just dropping a quick note to let people know when I'm in the area. I'll be at the Baltimore Book Festival this weekend for the following events:

September, 26 2009, 4-5 p.m.

Baltimore Book Festival,Mount Vernon Place

600 Block N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Cave Canem panel & poems “To Form or Not To Form" CityLit Stage (east side of circle around Washington Monument) Featured poet/panelists: Tara Betts, Derrick Brown, Kyle Dargan, and Jadi Omowale… Continue

Comment Wall (13 comments)

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At 2:25pm on November 16, 2010, Serena W said…
Hey Tara, I'm so sorry about just responding, I need to check this page at least every week. Please keep me in the loop about poetry events, arts, culture, etc.
At 4:57pm on August 28, 2010, Universal Africana said…
You're very welcome!!!! =)

Just sent you a reply email at your email account. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it to your event. I try not to make promises that I can't keep. I'm looking forward to being there if I can make it.
At 11:33pm on August 25, 2010, Universal Africana said…
You can also shoot me an email at BCMC_Richmd@yahoo.com with the details. That way I can send an e-blast about it to our membership, and add you as well to our Mailing List.
At 8:07pm on August 24, 2010, Alan King said…

I didn't make it to the Bop-A-Que. I'll definitely be at Utopia on Sept. 20!
At 7:25pm on August 6, 2010, Sojournals said…
Hey Tara! Thanks for the heads up about your upcoming event. Please post some info about it in your blog. See you soon!
At 1:40pm on July 17, 2009, Marissa Arterberry said…
Thanks Tara! I should have some shows coming up in the near future, and I'll definitely keep you posted :)
At 10:35am on October 29, 2008, Kamal Imani said…
Dear Sister,

Please see my video Ms. Melanin (A Dedication to the Black Woman) by Kamal Imani


Kamal Imani

Got Inspiration? Check out the inspirational hip hop & R&b song “I Will Make It” by Niva feat Kamal Imani
“I Will Make It” inspires you to keep the faith and believe in yourself! What more can we say! Keep your spiritual energy up and rock to this. And, remember to look to the person on your left and on your right and tell them “I Will Make It”! Can I get an AMEN?
Produced by Brother Jonathan of http://www.Newblackmusic.net Soul Griots Music Group RAI http://www.soundclick.com/niva http://www.myspace.com/kamalsupreme

At 9:51pm on October 13, 2008, Cool Cee Brown said…


At 5:50pm on July 6, 2008, Kamal Imani said…
Hi Tara,

Thank you for your connection and friendship!

At 12:55pm on July 6, 2008, Universal Africana said…
I hope that all is well and positive on your end. I definitely hope that we keep in touch.


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