Office—EM Press, 305 Brooks Ave., Joliet, IL 60435.
Teacher, publisher, editor, and freelance writer. Joliet West High School, Joliet, IL, English teacher; University of St. Francis, IL, philosophy instructor; EM Press, Joliet, cofounder and copublisher; press agent for poet Marc Smith, 1993-1996.
Midland Authors Society (Chicago, IL; board member).
(Editor) The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip-Hop, and the Poetry of a New Generation (includes audio CD), introduction by Billy Collins, Source-books MediaFusion (Naperville, IL), 2003.
In addition to teaching at the high school and university levels, Mark Eleveld is a freelance writer and book reviewer who also wrote press releases for poet Marc Smith during the 1990s. Smith is the founder of the poetry slam that began with Chicago, Illinois, venues in the 1980s and encouraged poetry for all. Eleveld, also a champion of spoken-word poetry, collaborated with Smith and poet laureate Billy Collins on a collection of work by fifty performance poets titled The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip-Hop, and the Poetry of a New Generation. The book also provides a history of the art and its evolution.
In an interview with Marie Lecrivain for PoeticDiversity.org, Eleveld said, "I wanted to document some of the history of the current movement while these people are still alive. I always found it ironic that contemporary or modern poetry classes usually end in the late fifties.… I wanted to mend some fences between people and 'scenes' that might not have been associated in the past. Having the U.S. poet laureate, Guggenheim president, Iowa Writers Workshop professor, Pulitzer Prize winner, Carnegie professor of the year, etc., next to Slammers, next to performance artists, next to youth—an interesting coming together of voices that have never been paired together like that before."
The Spoken Word Revolution is divided into six sections, titled "The Beat Remnants," "Hip-Hop," "Performance Art," "Competitive Poetry/Taos," "Slam," and "Youth Speaks." It comes with a CD that begins with the introduction by Collins, followed by a piece by Quincy Troupe, accompanied by guitar, in the "Beat" section. A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that the printed text is "secondary" to the CD, which includes twenty of the poets found in the book on forty-six cuts. The critic concluded by saying that this collection "heralds spoken word's further entry into the marketplace, a presence that should spread logarithmically over the coming years."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, April 28, 2003, review of The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip-Hop, and the Poetry of a New Generation, p. 63.
Mark Eleveld Home Page,http://www.em-press.com/ (February 28, 2004).