poetry

Jamaal May

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, raised in Texas, and now makes her home in Detroit.

Her first book of poems called Seam, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

The poems bring us the stories of the 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women who were raped during that country's 1971 Liberation War, a conflict that saw East Pakistan and India at war with West Pakistan. That war led to the birth of the Bangladeshi republic.

Becky Shink

Our ongoing series "Poetically Speaking" continues. On occasion we will bring you interviews with poets and writers, or we will post a poem, like this one, for your enjoyment.

"This is a poem about the experience of being a parent and a child at the same time and about the envy we can have for our siblings-- the miraculous combination of chemicals that make them them and us... us," writes Stephanie Glazier. 

Jinx! / Flickr

Our special series "Poetically Speaking" highlighting poets and poetry in Michigan continues. 

Julie Babcock grew up in the late 70's and early 80's when playgrounds were full of sharp, hot metal and asphalt. 

At the Gettysburg National Military Park.
user praline3001 / flickr.com

Michigan poets and multimedia artists, Michelle Bonczek Evory and Robert Evory, will be the first artists-in-residence at the Gettysburg National Military Park. 

The program invites artists to immerse themselves in the park's historical landscape and expand their own creative pursuits to inspire and engage new audiences.

Broadside-Lotus Press

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Broadside Press. It was founded in 1965 by African-American poet and publisher Dudley Randall.

This groundbreaking company has published a long and distinguished list of African-American poets and writers.

Christine Rhein is the author of Wild Flight (Texas Tech University Press), a winner of the Walt McDonald Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Michigan Quarterly Review, and have been featured at Poetry Daily and The Writer’s Almanac

"I wrote this poem in response to the heroic work accomplished at Gene Codes Corporation, in Ann Arbor, following 9/11," she says. "The poem, a weaving of programming language with poetic language, explores the event’s impact on the software developers and beyond."

Wayne State University Press

From a drive along Trumbull Avenue in 1981, to a despairing young mother in the depths of the Depression, to the backyard ice rink of a boyhood home.

These are just a few of the stories that poet Michael Lauchlan explores in his new collection, Trumbull Ave(Wayne State University Press).

Lauchlan brings a wide range of work and life experiences to his writing. He has lived in and around Detroit, he’s been a builder, he’s helped staff a non-profit, and he’s currently an English teacher at University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

Trumbull Avenue, the place,  Lauchlan said, was the “core” of his life in the 1980s. The Day House, a shelter for women in Detroit, is found on this avenue. The spirit of the Catholic worker, who helped inspire the opening of the shelter, is found on this avenue. It was on this avenue that Lauchlan and others did all of their community work, he said.

For these reasons, Trumbull Avenue permeates his poetry.

“I think my preoccupation is with the lives of a place and I think the job of a poet is to let a place speak,” he said. “And I think it’s been that way for thousands of years, so that’s my preoccupation.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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."

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.

Stateside celebrates National Poetry Month with a special month-long series on poetry in Michigan.

We'll be talking with Michigan poets about their new work, about poetry in the 21st century and about why poetry continues to inspire.

Florida Atlantic university Libraries

This article was updated at 4:18 pm on 3/7/2015

An exhibit opening this weekend at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn touches on themes of freedom of expression. 

Detroit to Baghdad: Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here commemorates the 2007 bombing of the center of Baghdad’s bookseller district. Dozens of people died. It took nearly a year for shops to reopen. 

=Paul / Flickr

This week we're exploring stories from writers in the Upper Peninsula. Today we have a poem from Marquette resident Russell Thornburn, the first Upper Peninsula poet laureate.

This poem is from a series called "Burden of Place," about surviving the cold UP winters.

This poem is called, "When One Tugs at a Single Thing in Nature, He Finds It Attached to the Rest of the World." It's about a man who is stuck in the cold after his car breaks down.  

Cover of The Complete Poetry: Cesar Vallejo
University of California Press

Forty-five years.

That’s how long it took Clayton Eshleman to translate the complete poetry of renowned Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo.

Eshleman is professor emeritus in the English department at Eastern Michigan University. He is a poet and a translator. His decades of work have become a book titled "The Complete Poetry: Cesar Vallejo."

Vallejo was born in the Peruvian Andes more than a century ago and died in 1938 at age 46. Eshleman says the terribly hard life Vallejo led still holds some key lessons today.

“A poet must learn how to become imprisoned in global life as a whole, and in each moment in particular,” says Eshleman.

Reflecting on his own undertaking over the decades, Eshleman says he was surprised that he had the stamina to do this, and he had no idea his "Vallejo journey" would involve a frustrating nine months in Lima, Peru, and a decade of rewording old translations.

“When you take on one of these big projects, you learn things about yourself, and about your commitment to the art, and what poetry can be,” says Eshleman.

*Listen to our conversation with Clayton Eshleman above.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The 17th annual International Youth Poetry Slam festival is in Philadelphia this week.

Flint is sending a team made up entirely of high school girls.

They’ve been practicing for months, writing poetry from their own lives about things like family, abuse, mental illness, and love.

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(Editor's note: This interview was first broadcast on October 28th, 2013)

Take poetry and the spoken word.

Mix in two stories of redemption.

Stir in a meeting at a Poetry Slam.

And top it with a poem about Michigan.

Do all of that, and you have Kinetic Affect. They are a spoken-word performing duo from Kalamazoo. And maybe you've seen their performance of "The Michigan Poem" making its way around the web: their straight from the heart poem about what it means to be from Michigan.

The Kinetic Affect duo Kirk Latimer and Gabriel Giron joined us today from Kalamazoo.

Listen to the full interview above.

Prescription-free emergency contraception is supposed to be available over-the-counter, across the country, for women of all ages.

But, for some, where you live matters. On today's show we found out about the uneven access to Plan B in Native American communities.

And the Yankee Air Museum has been given more time as it tries to save part of an historic factory. Will the Willow Run bomber plant be saved?

And we met a woman using graffiti in a very unique way.

Have you heard “The Michigan Poem?” We spoke to the Kalamazoo performance duo who wrote it.

Also, we took a look at child passenger safety laws and how to keep kids safe during car rides.

First on the show, we turned to Detroit's Mayoral election. Voters in Michigan's largest city will head to the polls one week from tomorrow.

Within that race for Mayor  is the issue of race. There is a white candidate: Mike Duggan - former Detroit Medical Center CEO, and a black candidate: Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

As part of the Detroit Free Press' endorsement of a Mayoral candidate, our next guest penned yesterday's column in the Freep about the complex role that race is playing in this election.

Stephen Henderson is the Editorial Page Editor for the Detroit Free Press, and he joined us today.

http://outreach.ewu.edu

In the entire history of Michigan, there has been only one state poet laureate: Edgar Guest.

But, the Upper Peninsula can boast of having a poet laureate. Recent voting in a grassroots campaign gave that honor to Russell Thorburn.

Russell Thorburn joined us today to talk about what this honor means to him professionally and personally.

Listen to the full interview above.

On today’s show we explored the differences residents in the UP have as compared with "trolls," you know, residents under the Mackinac Bridge.

How do perspectives about our state change depending on where we live?

And, we got the story behind Banner Gibson guitars in Kalamazoo and the women who made them.

Also, the UP’s own poet laureate joined us to talk about the rise in regional poet laureates, as well as what that honor means to him.

First on the show, as you've likely heard by now, a state election panel will have to decide the official outcome of Detroit's mayoral primary. That's because Wayne County's election board refused to certify the election. It should be noted that the county election board acted on the very last day before the deadline to certify the election.

The controversy centers on some 20,000 write-in votes that may have been incorrectly marked by Detroit poll workers.

Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan appeared to win the primary handily over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Despite running as a write-in candidate, Duggan won by about 16 points, according to unofficial results.

But if these almost 20,000 write-in votes get thrown out, the two winners would switch places, with  Napoleon coming out on top, and former Detroit Medical Center Mike Duggan finishing second.

Whatever the outcome, Duggan and Napoleon will face off in November.

But this drama raises many concerns, including the ability of Detroit poll workers to do their jobs properly, whether there needs to be a recount, and whether---as suggested by Benny Napoleon--the U.S. Department of Justice needs to babysit the big November election.

Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of Wayne State University's law school and an expert in Michigan's constitutional and election law, joined us today to help us sort this all out.

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Across the world ancient cultures built impressive stone circles, think Stonehenge in England, the Dromberg Stone Circle in West Cork Ireland, or the stone circle at Beaver Island.

No one knows exactly their significance. But, whether they were used as burials, for community gatherings or connected to agricultural events, like the summer solstice, people will always wonder why they exist.

Today, stone circles have appeared across the U.S., mainly to pay homage to our ancient ancestors. And, one of those exists here in Michigan.

Poet and educator Terry Wooten built his own stone circle nearly 30 years ago, designed to capture the atmosphere of ancient cultures. It's located north of Traverse City.

Terry joined us today to tell us all about it.

For more information, visit Terry's website: http://terry-wooten.com/

Listen to the full interview above.

The U.S. Postal Service is paying homage to the world of poetry with ten new commemorative stamps.

Two Michigan poets will be featured on the new Forever stamps: Theodore Roethke, a Saginaw native and Pulitzer Prize winning poet; and Robert Hayden, a Detroit poet, and the first black poet laureate of the United States.

Alison Swan

Alison Swan is a poet and an award winning environmentalist. She's adjunct professor at Western Michigan University.

Not too long ago Swan published her first collection of poetry, Dog Heart. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White sat down with Swan to talk about the new book.

Swan says she finds her inspiration from the wild places of Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Madgett.

Listen to the interview.

The 2012 Kresge Eminent Artist Award goes to Naomi Long Madgett.

She’s an award winning poet, editor, and educator. She’s often called the godmother of African-American poetry.

Dr. Madgett says the award came as a complete surprise because she didn’t even know she was being considered for the award.

“So it means a great deal to me that I can be alive to realize that my life’s work has had some positive effect on other people’s lives,” she tell Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White.

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