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Tara Betts
Tara Betts, writer/educator/performer, appeared in the fourth season of HBO's "Def Poetry Jam" and the SouthWest VDay production of Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues" at Chicago's DuSable Museum. She also appeared in the Black Family Channel series "SPOKEN" with jessica Care moore.

After winning Guild Complex's 1999 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, Tara published her collection of poems Can I Hang? She also represented Chicago at the 1999 and 2000 National Poetry Slams. She has performed her work in Cuba, 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, Yerba Buena Cultural Center, The Metro, Ladyfest Midwest, the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago Cultural Center, poetry slams, conferences, several colleges, universities and numerous public, private and alternative schools. She has shared the stage with Patricia Smith, Rosellen Brown, Afaa Michael Weaver, Kwame Dawes, Luis Rodriguez, MC Lyte and Grammy-nominee Jill Scott. Tara also co-hosted and organized an all women's performance space/open mic series Women OutLoud.

Tara's work has appeared in the Steppenwolf Theater production "Words on Fire", Obsidian III, Columbia Poetry Review, and several anthologies, including the upcoming 10th Anniversary Cave Canem Reader, Taboo Haiku and an anthology of Chicago's Black writers edited by Richard Guzman.

In addition to her experiences with page and the stage, Tara Betts teaches writing and encourages literacy by working with arts programs such as 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. Tara, a Cave Canem fellow and MFA candidate at New England College, has received residencies from Ragdale Foundation, Centrum and Caldera and an Illinois Arts Council Award in New Performance Forms. Tara Betts is the author of SWITCH.

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