Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Hilary Dotson / flickr

All through April, in honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve been exploring Michigan’s poets with our series "Poetically Speaking."

But now, we turn to those of you who hear poetry and shrug. Those of you who never think to open a book of poetry. Those of you who say, “I just don’t get it.”

A Minute with Mike: An Ode to Bad Poetry

Apr 28, 2015

Oh, Bad Poetry, 

Why are you written?

Why are you listened to? 

Perhaps the audience is held captive out of perceived rudeness at a coffee house or locked in 

a car barreling down the highway with the radio just out of reach. Wink wink nod nod.

Robert Turney

One of our favorite Stateside visitors is poet and writer Keith Taylor. He stops by each season to share his "reading picks" from Michigan writers.

But, it's time to turn the tables on Keith Taylor.

His new chapbook of poetry and prose is called Fidelities.

The Michigan meridian is clearly visible in the map of Native American land cessions in Michigan.
wikimedia commons

This month marks the 200th birthday of something that helped make Michigan the state we know today.

It's the bicentennial of the Michigan meridian.

That north-south line was the reference point for the Michigan Survey. Every single piece of property in Michigan is defined by that meridian and two east-west baselines.

Take two slices of bread, put something tasty on them, slap the slices together, and you've got a sandwich, right?

Well, you may call it a "sanwich" or "samwich," and you're certainly not alone.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan recently heard someone making fun of a person for saying "samwich," and thought that wasn't very kind.

The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival
Erin English / Creative Commons

This summer will be the final year for the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in West Michigan.

Lisa Vogel, who founded the event when she was 19, made the announcement in a letter on the event's website.

"We have known in our hearts for some years that the life cycle of the festival was coming to a time of closure," she said. 

Vogel didn't give a specific reason for the decision. 

For 40 years, thousands of woman have traveled the globe to attend the week-long event near Hart Township.

Troye Fox / UWM Photography

Margaret Noodin has made it her life’s work to fight for the future of the ancient Native American language Anishnaabemowin.

This is the language of “the People of the Three Fires”—the Odawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwe. These people came to the Great Lakes thousands of years ago.

Benjamin Foote

The debut album by Grand Rapids indie rock and soul band Vox Vidorra explores race, inequality, love and religion.

Molly Bouwsma-Schultz is Vox Vidorra’s lead singer and lyricist. 

As part of our series Poetically SpeakingScott Beal brings us “American Spring,” his brand-new poem that explores the current tensions surrounding police violence in America.

Flickr user Bridget Coila / Flickr

Some restaurants have continued a puzzling tradition when it comes to serving wine. You order a bottle and when they bring it to the table they provide you with the cork as well.

Chief wine and restaurant critic for Hour Detroit  Magazine Chris Cook says there's a long history to this tradition.

Sara Schaff

Our series "Poetically Speaking," highlighting Michigan poets, continues. 

Benjamin Landry completed his MFA in creative writing-poetry at the University of Michigan and is a research associate in creative writing at Oberlin College. His collection Particle and Wave (University of Chicago Press), was shortlisted for the 2015 Believer Poetry Award.

National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak
Corey Seeman / Creative Commons

The National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic church in Royal Oak will mark its designation as a minor basilica this week with a Mass of thanksgiving.

The Vatican granted the title last January, making the parish Michigan’s second to be named a minor basilica.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan talks to us about the State Officers Compensation Committee and how pay raises for state officials could be in store.
  • In The Next Idea, Harsha Nahata, the daughter of immigrants who grew up in Michigan’s Indian and Pakistani community, suggests granting an “urban visa classification” to people who agree to move into areas of urban decline.
  • Radio consultant Fred Jacobs helped birth the classic rock radio station format around 30 years ago, and he’s here today to talk about it.
FLICKR USER MIKE MOZART / FLICKR

Corn flakes was the focus of a recent piece in The Atlantic by writer Rachel Smith. She looked at what’s in them, what’s not in them, and how they were invented in Battle Creek by John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Keith.

Nowadays, cereal sales are dropping and Wall Street observers think Kellogg's is ripe for a takeover.

Brenda Fitzsimmons / The Irish Times

As part of our series "Poetically Speaking" we're highlighting Michigan poets. 

Thomas Lynch is the author of five collections of poems and four books of essays.  His essays, poems and stories have appeared in The Atlantic and Granta, The New York Times and Times of London, The New Yorker, Poetry and The Paris Review and elsewhere.  

A new art project that's made a stop in Michigan is trying to empower women and value girls by recognizing their potential. Girl Noticed has a message and is stating in ten-foot-tall terms.

Watching someone sketch is interesting. Watching someone sketch a mural on a wall is fascinating because of the scale. But, there’s a problem when you do a mural on an outdoor brick wall using charcoal and chalk. It’s going to weather away. It will eventually fade to nothing.

And the artist I'm watching says that’s part of the message.

“We go through our lives feeling invisible a lot of times, feeling unnoticed, or feeling like we’re noticed for the wrong reasons,” Lori Pratico said as she stepped down from the ladder.

She says she wants people to re-think what they notice about women before the chance fades away and they miss the best part of someone.

There are plenty of English words that mean "nonsense."

One of them is "malarkey."  It's certainly fun to say, and it got a lot of attention when Vice President Joe Biden, in his debate with Sen. Paul Ryan: "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey."

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan, who specializes in linguistics, says while "malarkey" sounds like it's Irish in origin, there's no clear answer about where it comes from.

It's National Poetry Month and in our month-long series "Poetically Speaking" we are delving into the form's presence in Michigan.

Here in the Midwest, Ann Arbor-based literary journal "Midwestern Gothic" is one of the best places for poets to publish their works.

Owen Carey

As part of our series "Poetically Speaking" we're highlighting Michigan poets. 

 

Crystal Williams is a Detroit native. She is the author of four collections of poems, most recently Detroit as Barn, finalist for the National Poetry Series and Cleveland State Open Book Prize. She is the Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Bates College. She is also a Professor of English.

 

About her poem Enlightenment Williams says:

"The poem is about resilience, acknowledging the turmoil around us and is about, ultimately, finding a more enlightened way of considering our failings, challenges, and opportunities for growth."

AK Press

Octavia's Brood, a science fiction anthology being launched this week in Detroit uses, the genre as a form of social activism.

The anthology's title is a nod to Octavia Butler, one of the first black female sci-fi writers to gain recognition, including a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.

Butler published 12 novels and a collection of short stories, many of which feature young, black female protagonists who constantly adapt to new conditions.

worn red rocking chair
Flickr user jodelli / Flickr

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated 150 years ago this week. The chair Lincoln was sitting in that fateful night at Ford's Theatre is now one of the most visited artifacts on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

And this week, you'll be able to get a better-than-usual look at the historic red chair.

The seat is usually on display in an airtight case, but for one day only, tomorrow (April 15), the chair will be on a pedestal in open air so that audiences can have a better view. The museum will be free for all guests all day so that everyone has a chance to have this rare, up-close experience.

Michigan Radio and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival will welcome The Moth Mainstage back to Ann Arbor for a live performance on Tuesday, June 30th at the Michigan Theatre.

The Moth is dedicated to old-fashioned storytelling on thoroughly modern themes. 

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150 years ago this night, the 16th President of the United States decided that an evening at the theater was just what he needed.

As we all know, Abraham Lincoln’s night at Ford’s Theatre in Washington ended with a bullet fired by assassin John Wilkes Booth. The bullet lodged in his brain, right behind his left ear.

Today on Stateside:

  • Elizabeth Campbell with the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School and Judge Charles Pope of Ypsilanti’s 14B District Court join us to discuss the Human Trafficking Court in Washtenaw County, the first of its kind in Michigan.
  • Barbara Rylko-Bauer discusses her new book, A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Campus, which is about her mother, Dr. Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko, a former Nazi prisoner who later worked as a nurse’s aide at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dr. Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko was a Nazi prisoner for 15 months. She endured a women's prison, three concentration camps, four slave labor camps and a death march.

She and her fellow prisoners were liberated by the U.S. 87th Infantry Division 70 years ago this week.

After the war, she came to Michigan with her husband and daughter, seeking a new life.

She found that new life, but her Polish medical credentials had been lost in the war and she was never able to practice medicine in America. Instead, she worked as a nurse's aide at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Given how common the compound word "child care" is, you would think we could agree on whether to spell it as one word or two.

And that's just the tip of the compound iceberg.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says That's What They Say listener Adam e-mailed a question about "fundraise."  

Catherine Shaffer

 The University of Michigan student group Fashion for Freedom staged a mock fashion show on campus Friday to protest the sexualization of women's bodies in advertising, which the group believes promotes sexual violence and human trafficking.

The group then marched on downtown Ann Arbor retailers, applauding those with respectful advertising and protesting stores with ad campaigns it believes objectify women, including American Apparel.

FLICKR USER VICKI DELOACH / FLICKR

The robin became the official bird of Michigan 84 years ago today, and that decision stirred up a lasting controversy. 

Dan Austin of the Detroit Free Press and HistoricDetroit.org, said the process to elect the robin as the state bird was a democratic one.

The Michigan Audubon Society held a contest in 1929 and almost 200,000 Michiganders voted. The final runners in the election? The robin and the chickadee.

In the end, though, the robin came out on top and became out state bird officially in 1931.

FLICKR USER JILLIAN NORTHRUP/ FLICKR

In the pantheon of great American designers, the name Eames is one of the best-known. Charles Eames and his wife Ray made their creative mark in modern architecture, furniture, graphic design, industrial design, fine art, textile design and film.

The Henry Ford Museum has acquired a permanent Eames exhibition, called “Mathematica.” It was first seen over 50 years ago, at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.

poetryfoundation.org/bio/ken-mikolowski

It’s National Poetry Month and in its honor, we are exploring the work and styles of Michigan poets.

Ken Mikolowski, a poet and poetry professor at the University of Michigan, has just released his fifth book, ThatThat. It’s a book that reveals this poet’s mastery of the short poem – no poem within the book is longer than three short lines.

“Haiku is much too long for me,” Mikolowski said.

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