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michigan poets

Wayne State University Press, 2017

The story of the Great Lakes is one of remarkable beauty and extraordinary violence.

According to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, the Lakes have collectively claimed some 6,000 ships and 30,000 lives. As long as ships have been on the Lakes, ferocious storms have been swallowing those ships—and their crews—whole.

It’s that grim yet compelling history that Cindy Hunter Morgan explores in her new collection of poems, Harborless. The collection is Morgan’s telling of 40 different Great Lakes shipping disasters, stretching across two centuries.  

The state of Michigan hasn't had a poet laureate since 1959 when Edgar Guest (pictured in 1935) passed away.
Wikipedia / NBC Radio

Pop quiz: Who is the poet laureate of Michigan?
 

Sorry, but that's a trick question. The state hasn't had a state poet laureate since Edgar Guest died in 1959.

So, we're getting piecemeal poets laureates around the state – in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit and Grand Rapids, for instance. Now, add Lansing to that list.

For the first time, the poetry community in our Capitol city is searching for Lansing's own poet laureate.

Ryan Grimes

Linda Gregerson’s poems explore a wealth of themes from parenting to social inequality, the environment, illness, and so much more.

She has won a wide array of honors, from Guggenheim Fellowship to finalist for a National Book Award. She is Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a professor at the University of Michigan.

And now, she’s out with her first collected volume: Prodigal: New and Selected Poems, 1976-2014. The collection includes 10 new poems and 50 poems pulled from some 40 years of writing.

Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley perform "Lost Voices" at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational
screenshot


Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley’s performance poem “Lost Voices” took third place at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

Speaking in each other’s voices, the two Eastern Michigan University students tear into reproductive rights, racism, white privilege, and more.

Screenshot/Chrysler

The Next Idea

In 2009, the headline of a Time magazine cover story read “The Tragedy of Detroit” with a shadowy photo of a blighted factory in the background. The national press was brutal.

Diane DeCillis' premiere book of poems has been named a Michigan Notable Book for 2015
Diane DeCillis

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

West Bloomfield’s Diane DeCillis’ first book of poetry, Strings Attached, has been named a Michigan Notable Book for 2015.

DeCillis draws on her past and her family in many of her poems, including the poem for which the book was named.