Jas. Mardis is a long-term resident of Dallas, Texas. He is an awarded Poet, Radio Commentator and Storyteller with current projects that include anthology editing, fabric artist, radio and print commentary and coordinating workshops and genealogy start ups and reviews at The Family Story Project.
Jas. has been awarded The Pushcart Prize for Poetry. He has also received multiple GRIOT awards from The National Association of Black Journalist/Dallas Chapter, for radio commentary. In 2014 Jas. Mardis was inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame.
Jas. Mardis is available for bookings in all of the above mentioned fields of endeavor. He has recently completed a 13 week workshop commission for The Dallas Public Library and Met Life: The Family Folktale Project. His poetic endeavors included the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Poetry Series by Brenda Randall, “Will A Real Man Take The Mic” and participating in “Free Versing for Freedom: Celebrating Dignity: Honoring Survivors of Human Trafficking”, a Mike Guinn event.
Mardis has a longstanding record as educator in various capacities. His most longstanding engagement was with Southern Methodist University’s Gifted Student Institute. He was an Instructor of Creative Writing and later developed Public Discourse: The Gifted Student’s Voice in the Public Arena. That Summer Study course ran for ten years and engaged students from all over the Country in development of their public speaking, writing and speaking skills.
Mardis was also a longtime Artist in the City of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs NEIGHBORHOOD TOURING PROGRAM. Over the multi-year participation in NTP he instructed and performed as Storyteller, Quilter, Poet, Creative Writing and Family Story and Genealogy Coordinator.
In another era, before YouTube, etc, there was television and you may well catch glimpses of Poet and Social Commentator, Jas.Mardis, in any number of public, cable, radio and college course videos from over twenty-five years of a Writer’s life.
Jas. Mardis’ poetry and other forms of writing have been published widely and include his own three chapbooks: Southern Tongue (1986), Hanging Time (1987) and The Ticking and the Time Going Past (1989). He was selected as Editor by The University of North Texas Press for the groundbreaking anthology, KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora. This was the first anthology of black writers of all forms from the true Southwest region of Texas and it’s contiguous States. It featured 42 writers of various levels, including the 2014 National Book Award Finalist, Tim Seibles and introduced the dynamic talents of Bernestine Singley, who later penned the groundbreaking work, “When Race Becomes Real”. KenteCloth also included Oklahoma’s Clifton Taubert, Louisiana’s Pearl Garrett Crayton, Texas Bishop Jesse Truvillion and Langston Hughes’ last Secretary, Mr Lindsay Patterson. The emerging talents of Playwright, Ms. Sharon Bridgforth (The Bull Jean Plays) are showcased as the only such work in the anthology. For awhile it seemed that the KenteCloth anthology would be a final tribute to a segment of New Orleans’ writers following Hurricane Katrina’s dislocation of that community.
Jas. Mardis’ main endeavor for the current year is to complete the eight art tapestries for his series, “The Ancestral Hands: Awakened with Grandmother’s Needle/Grandmother’s Pen”. The quilts explore how both Grandmothers influenced the drive and creative hand of this artist and gave an early awakening to the political eye and social commentary of this recognized writer.
Jas. Mardis has an occasional Memoir blog at 3 Days In The City. Check it out.
To read the 2015 National Poetry Month offerings from Jas. Mardis you can click Poetry on the MENU
For a glimpse of the Quilts in progress you can select QUILTS when available on the MENU