Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Marc Kelly Smith  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1949 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Smith is a native Chicagoan and born on the southeast side of the city.

Biographical and Professional Information

Marc Smith is best known for creating the ''Poetry Slam'' in 1986 at the Green Mill Tavern in Chicago. Born on the southeast side of Chicago, Smith’s sense of rhythm and realism has made him one of the country’s most compelling poetry performers. Smith has performed at The Smithsonian Institute, The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Museum of Contemporary, the Asheville Poetry Festival in North Carolina, 1st Night Annapolis in Maryland, The Innovator’s Festival in Washigton DC, the Kennedy Center, Galway’s Cruit Festival, Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, Ausburg’s ABC Brecht Festival, and the Queensland Poetry Fest in Australia. He has been featured on CNN, 60 Minutes, National Public Radio’s Whadda Ya Know, ARTbeat Chicago, Ophra, Wild Chicago, WGN Chicago’s Very Own and Chicago Slices.Smith’s poetry has been featured in Hammer’s Magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Poetry Slam, an anthology, ''Aloud! Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe'', which won the 1994 American Book Award, and ''The United States of Poetry'', a publication that accompanied the PBS television series. Selections of his work can also be heard on the CDs: ''By Someone’s Good Grace'', a recording of the first National Slam Team Champions, ''Grand Slam: The 1995 National Slam'', ''It’s About Time'', and ''Quarters in the Juke Box''.He has also written and produced two stage plays: ''Flea Market, a night of monologues'', and A'' House Party For Henry'', an interactive play, and co-wrote, produced, and performed in the Zeitgeist Theater’s ''The Psychic Café''. He just recently debuted his highly acclaimed ''Sandburg to Smith'', a musical adaptation of Carl Sandburg’s poems and stories performed in concert with the Rootabaga Band.

Published Works Expand for more information

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