Woodward Avenue, often referred to as Detroit’s “Main Street,” stretches 21 miles from Pontiac to Detroit. In Midtown, it’s been gutted in preparation for summer construction. It’s here that Chace “Mic Write” Morris performed, in the Garden Theater, as part of ArtX Detroit, a ten-day festival held throughout the city that includes presentations by 2013-2014 Kresge Fellows.
Benjamin Alfaro’s work has appeared in a range of journals, including Union Station, Cognitive Liberation, Mangrove Review, Stymie, Acentos Review, and the Red Cedar Review. He is also co-author of Home Court (Red Beard Press, 2014), a collaborative poetry collection, and co-founder of Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival's Michigan chapter. He has been featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices and on Michigan public radio.
Trained as an engineer, Christine Rhein spent the first part of her adult life working in the auto industry, that boom and bust core of the Detroit economy. She tells me that this background in mechanical design has shaped her poetry in a kind of dialectics of freedom and constraint. On the one hand, she finds herself approaching a new poem as a puzzle to be solved, a design problem. And yet the poem as problem doesn't lend itself to a purely mathematical or rational solution. Instead, a kind of surprise haunts the poetic machine.
Naomi Long Madgett is 91 years old, but she continues to shape Detroit poetry. Author of 10 books of poetry and a professor emerita of Eastern Michigan University's English Langage and Literature department, Madgett's awards are too many to list: highlights include poet laureate of Detroit in 2001, the Kresge Eminant Artist award in 2012, and a number of honorary doctorates.
Detroit poetries: Field notes