Tara Betts

, NY

Author's Bio

Tara Betts is the author of Arc & Hue and the chapbook/lbretto "THE GREATEST: An Homage to Muhammad Ali. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Binghamton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from New England College. Tara is a Cave Canem alum. Tara’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including POETRY magazine, The Break Beat Poets, Octavia's Brood, VILLANELLES, Gathering Ground, Bum Rush the Page, A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, and both Spoken Word Revolution anthologies. Her poems have appeared in Essence, Crab Orchard Review, Callaloo, Ninth Letter, Court Green, and others. Her writing has also been adapted for the stage in Steppenwolf Theater's Words on Fire," "Fingernails Across a Chalk Board" by Chocolate Chips Theater Company, Rivka's Solomon's "That Takes Ovaries!" and the dance production "THE GREATEST! An Hip Homage to Muhammad Ali." 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, London’s Roundhouse, and the Binghamton Poetry Project. Tara also appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and the Black Family Channel series “SPOKEN” with Jessica Care Moore. After winning Guild Complex’s Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, she represented Chicago twice at the National Poetry Slam. She also coached youth who participated in Brave New Voices and Chicago's Louder Than a Bomb.

Publications and Prizes

2013 Scholars for the Dream Award, CCCC. 2011 Bread Loaf Writers Conference. 2010 VONA scholarship for memoir and poetry. 2009 Squaw Valley Writers Workshop scholarship. 2009 Pushcart nominee. Illinois Arts Council fellowship. artist-in-residence at Ragdale Foundation, Soul Mountain, Caldera, Centrum, and University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

More Information

Listed as:
Gives readings? 
Travels for readings? 
Identifies as: 
African American, Mixed Race
Prefers to work with: 
Adults, At Risk Youth, Children, Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender, Homeless people, Hospital patients, Naturalists/Environmentalists, People with Disabilities, Prisoners, Seniors, Teachers, Teenagers
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Kankakee, IL
Raised in: 
Kankakee, IL

Personal Favorites

Favorite Authors:
Nikky Finney, Anne Sexton, Gwendolyn Brooks

Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Listing last updated: June 13, 2015.