As a white person, I will never know the sting of racial aggression, micro or macro, but I can learn to recognize my biases, to educate myself and even dare, as Rankine's brilliant work suggests, "to see in color."
As I go through my recuperation, I find myself collecting the stories of friends who have been beset by the evil fracture fairy. Apparently this is a not uncommon rite of passage for those of us of a certain age.
African American poets gave a glimpse into what W.E.B. Dubois famously identified as 'The Souls of Black Folks.' Our students honored their poetic forbears which was also a manifesto about the importance of poetry in young people's lives.
Weeks of hard work, revision and practice have gone into creating a blockbuster group poem of Detroit pride, affirmation, social critique -- a manifesto of youthful determination and hope for a better future, no matter what.
In the eyes of some, such as CBS's 60 Minutes, we are led to believe Detroit is akin to "Mogadishu.'' But I am proud that our work, and that of so many other committed Detroiters, paints a truer picture.
Shakespeare? Jazz? Poetry? Radio broadcasting? Vocal music? Video production? Yes, yes, and more yesses. All of these are coming soon, summer into fall, to Detroit teens through the Detroit School of Arts.
Just one block away on Trumbull stands an all too typical boarded up, burned out example of Detroit's abandonment and decay. But walk a few more steps and you'll find a building of the same vintage, transformed into a beautiful, living testimony to the arts.
A poem in your pocket? A poem in your mind or heart? I'm happy to report that here in Detroit, The Word is thriving, and for this poet, as National Poetry Month comes to a close, it's been a whirl of a Week in Words.
It must be no accident that National Poetry Month starts on April 1st, because what are poems but a fine foolery, or a fine frenzy as Theseus would have it, in Act V of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Many of Detroit's youth arts organizations are intentionally carrying forward the inheritance that we honor by remembering figures like Dr. King and Mother Parks, as she is affectionately called among Detroiters.
As teachers, we touch many lives. Sometimes we know the effect, but often we do not. When I received an email from a former InsideOut student, now a Teach for America trainee, I had the pleasure of spreading the word to a very special teacher.
The joy of Get Versed, the enthusiasm of a wonderfully diverse audience and the incredible confidence from the children is a testament to everyone who loves them, to InsideOut's poets and staff, and to the healing power of poetry.
I have long felt that our students have a somewhat different relationship to their city than children in other parts of the country, that they take Detroit as their muse and that the city actually becomes a character in their work.
A snobberie, a soire, a sassy fashion gathering, a sip, a shop and a salute -- all of this, as well as a whole lot of poetry, will be going on Thursday, Feb. 23 in Rachel Lutz's remarkable Peacock Room in Detroit's Park Shelton Hotel.
We at InsideOut Literary Arts gave a cheer at the news that Naomi Long Madgett was awarded the 2012 Kresge Eminent Artist Award. She continues to be a powerful, generous force for poetry in Detroit and around the country.
At InsideOut Literary Arts Project we witness each day the way the voices of Detroit's young people strengthen our community. The backbone of InsideOut is a cadre of dedicated creative writers who help them find their songs and tell their stories.