Tara Betts is the author of the book Arc and Hue, her debut collection on Aquarius Press/Willow Books. Tara is a lecturer in creative writing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She is also a Cave Canem fellow.Tara's poetry and prose has appeared in various journals and anthologies.
Tara Betts encourages literacy and works with arts programs. In Chicago, she was an influential educator. 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, Cooper Union, Dodge Foundation's Poets-In-The-Schools program and London's Roundhouse.
Tara Betts appeared on HBO's 'Def Poetry Jam' She also appeared in the Black Family Channel series 'SPOKEN' with Jessica Care Moore. She has also been one of the writers/performers in girlstory-an intergenerational, multicultural women's performance collective. Tara has also performed in plays, including two SouthWest V-Day productions of Eve Ensler's 'Vagina Monologues' at Chicago's DuSable Museum. After winning Guild Complex's Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, 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 New School, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Studio Museum of Harlem, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Bar 13, The Metro, Cornelia Street Caf', Bowery Poetry Club, Yerba Buena Cultural Center, the Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, poetry slams, conferences, several colleges, universities and numerous public, private and alternative schools.
Tara is making appearances at festivals throughout the country as well. Some of her past appearances include the Dodge Poetry Festival. Mixed Roots Literary & Film Festival, The Hip Hop Theater Festival, Ladyfest Midwest, AWP, Split This Rock Festival, the National Black Writers Conference, the Austin International Poetry Festival, and the Baltimore Book Festival.
She has shared the stage with Patricia Smith, Rosellen Brown, Afaa Michael Weaver, Mart'n Espada, David Mura, Kwame Dawes, Luis Rodriguez, MC Lyte and Grammy-winner Jill Scott and others. She coached and mentored countless young writers and performers that have participated in the Brave New Voices and Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slams and still teaches writing workshops with teens at Urban Word NYC.
Arc & Hue
Click to order via Amazon
Perfect Paperback: 94 pages
Publisher: Aquarius Press; First edition (September 1, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches
It's all here, all the nuances of body and voice, as bold and sensitive
poetic attitude. How flow became form then flow again, the
creative-growth-process of living writing line breath before line break, a risk
in every room. Tara Betts makes silence plea then whips some crazy and some
natural on the confessional. Often sassy, often black-a-demic, her
non-discriminating eye is never without a fully focused art-sense of self,
community and nation. So many of the poems in Arc and Hue aim for the spirit
level of insight, our need-some-more-saturation souls. No bragging, no cussin
folks out or refried allegorical posturing, Arc and Hue respects the currency of
creativity and the unbought lives it honors.
'Thomas Sayers Ellis, The Maverick Room
Tara Betts deftly crafted stanzas are infused with a relentless lyricism and a Chi-town girl's sensibility. This debut collection solidifies her status as a defiant and singular voice, joyous indication of a fresh new direction in poetry.
'Patricia Smith, National Book Award Winner and author of Blood Dazzler
The poems in Tara Betts's debut collection, Arc and Hue, are a montage of identity politics, sexuality, music, and experiential knowledge. The joy of reading these poems is that it's the knowledge--yes, even more than the music-- that makes these poems sing. Irrespective of how familiar the scene may seem on the surface, whether the focus is a reverie on relationships--some familial, some romantic--or a projection of a subjunctive future, the acute attention to detail and keen point of view guides Betts' work to conclusions that surprise and illuminate.
'A. Van Jordan, author of Quantum Lyrics
Tara's work has appeared in the Steppenwolf Theater production Words on Fire, Obsidian III, Columbia Poetry Review, and the following anthologies:
These Hands I Know (Sarabande, 2002);
That Takes Ovaries! (Three Rivers Press/Crown, 2002);
ROLE CALL (Third World Press, February 2002);
Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press/Crown, 2001);
Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry (Manic D Press, 2000), and
Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry from Chicagos Guild Complex (Tia Chucha Press, 1999).
Review of Femme du Monde (Woman of the World) by Patricia Spears Jones
Def Poetry Jam Story for AALBC.com
Killing the Black Body?: Race and the Reproductive Battleground
Illinois Writers' Directory
Young Chicago Authors
Mosaic Fall/Winter 1999
Celebrating our voices Ida B. Wells by Tara Betts.
Mosaic Spring 1999
Poetry Loving You is Church by Tara Betts
Gwen Brooks Blk Writers Conf.
... tyehimba jess, tara betts, dr. duriel harris (whom jess affectionately called dr.
funk), plus a host of other young chicago poets were on the set in addition