Mighty Mike McGee
From Poetry Wiki
“Mighty” Mike (Michael Matthew) McGee (born January 12, 1976 in Fort Campbell, KY) is an American slam poet and self-described “stand up poet.” He is the oldest of 8 children from various combinations of marriage. McGee has spent most of his life in and around San Jose, California where he started his career in spoken word, poetry slam and performance poetry in 1998. McGee's extensive touring has brought his stand up comedy infused poetry to Germany, the Netherlands, England, and most of the known spoken word and poetry slam venues throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is one of the first American poets to perform at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in France, along with Derrick C. Brown and Eitan Kadosh. He is a contemporary of Anis Mojgani, Rachel McKibbens, Jack McCarthy, Andrea Gibson, Buddy Wakefield, RC Weslowski, Geoff Trenchard of the Suicide Kings and Marc Bamuthi Joseph.
McGee was born with the neural tube defect Spina Bifida and was never expected to walk or talk as an infant. Luckily, this example of Spina Bifida is relatively mild, and McGee has been able to live a moderately normal life. However, this defect is the cause of his lack of bladder control, thus, he has always worn diapers or undergarments.
In 1999, McGee helped form Bleeding Edge Spoken Word, under the directorship of then friend and roommate, Aahz. In two and a half years, the two released 33 compilations of contemporary American spoken word. The label is now defunct, but it achieved a very notable goal in releasing modern poetry albums on CD before very many labels had. In 2001, McGee started his own imprints – 3XMsound and 3XMpress – in order to produce and release his own compact discs and chapbooks.
In 2003, McGee co-founded the Vancouver, B.C.-based "talk-rock" trio, Tons of Fun University with Shane Koyczan and C. R. Avery. Their debut was before a crowd of 15,000 at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 2004. The trio has since toured extensively throughout Canada, performing primarily in music festivals.
Along with various local and regional poetry slam titles, McGee is the first slam poet to win both the American National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Championship, in 2003, and the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship, in 2006.
McGee's successes in poetry slam competition have helped cast a shadow on his lackluster beginnings at the San José Poetry Slam and throughout various San Francisco Bay Area amateur comedy open mikes. McGee found it hard to connect with audiences and audiences found it hard to enjoy his performance style. In 2001, after three years of competing at the San José Poetry Slam, McGee finally earned a spot on the slam team and went to his first National Poetry Slam held that August in Seattle, WA. He then returned to the National Poetry Slam with the same team in 2003 (where he topped the Individual category) and 2004.
On his beginnings in poetry slam: “I didn’t get the crowd. I had to stop and listen to them listening to the performers before I could go back up there and give them what we both wanted.”
The nickname “Mighty” inadvertently came from McGee himself, with blatant promotion from fellow poet and writer, Geoff Trenchard, who he credits for introducing him to spoken word. In 1997, McGee became interested in the internet, however, he was unable to acquire a simple email address without numbers in it, so mightymikemcgee@ was the only acceptable alliteration. Trenchard agreed and used it publicly until it caught on with friends and audiences. It has become a standard introduction for him by hosts and emcees prior to most performances.
Poetry Slam Titles
Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, 2006
International World Poetry Slamionship, 2006 (2nd)
National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Champion, 2003
San Jose Poetry Slam Grand Champion, 2003 and 2004
San Francisco Poetry Slam Grand Champion, 2003
The Them They're Talking About (Tons of Fun University EP), 2005, Mother Press Media
Happy Is The New Sad (guest on track 6, Delta Activity's album), 2005
New High Score: Best of Urbana Compilation, 2005, The Wordsmith Press
Live In Denver, 2004, 3XMsound
For Mayor (Best of), 2003, 3XMsound
Miscellaneous, 2003, 3XMsound
Is Beautiful, 2001, 3XMsound (discontinued)
Mighty, 2000, Bleeding Edge Spoken Word/3XMsound (discontinued)