Everyone can be a poet, didn’t you know it? That’s not quite true, but here’s a list of the best local poets in the Detroit area.
Laura Kasischke is a professor at the University of Michigan’s Residential College and has published eight novels and eight books of poetry. Her most recent poetry book is entitled “Space, in Chains.” She’s been written up in The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and more, and a few of her novels have been made into movies, including “The Life Before Her Eyes,” starring Uma Thurman. She was also awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship to help further her writing.
Terry M. Blackhawk
Terry M. Blackhawk is a poet and a Huffington Post writer, and took up writing poetry while she was teaching English. She’s the founder and director of Detroit’s InsideOut Literary Arts Project, which puts poets in schools and caters to over 5,000 students per year. Terry has published three poetry collections and two chapbooks, and her work has also appeared in many anthologies and journals. She is the winner of many awards, including the 2010 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize (from Nimrod International) and the 2008 Creative Writing Educator of the Year from the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Ms. Blackhawk has a PhD in Reading and Language Arts Education from Oakland University, and has recently been named a 2013 Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellow.
Philip Levine currently lives in Brooklyn and Fresno, California, but is a native Detroiter who attended Detroit Public Schools and Wayne State University. His most current collection is titled “News of the World,” and he earned his MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. He and his family relocated to California in 1953, and he has published more than 10 books of poetry since then. He’s a Pulitzer Prize winner (1994) as well as a National Book Award winner (1979), and in 1977, he won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He also has published nonfiction essays and interviews, including “The Bread of Time: Toward an Autobiography” (1994) and “Don’t Ask” (1981).
Related: Best Poets In Detroit
francine j. harris
francine j. harris (all lower-case) is a Detroit native and currently lives in Ann Arbor, where she also teaches at the University of Michigan; she received her MFA from the university as well. Her first book of poetry, “allegience,” was published in 2012 and was #1 on the national poetry bestseller’s list within a month after being published. Francine has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was also a recent finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She started writing at a very young age and left Detroit at age 17 for Arizona, and she has also lived in Chicago, the Northwest and New York.
Carolyn Forché recently won the Academy of American Poet’s Fellowship, which is a prize of $25,000 for “distinguished achievement,” and was honored in October 2013 at the Poet’s Forum in New York. She was born in Detroit in 1950, and her first book of poetry was published in 1975, at the young age of 25. Since then, she’s published many books of poetry, and she’s also a translator and human rights advocate. Forché has a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University, and an MFA from Bowling Green State University. Her latest book of poetry is “Blue Hour,” published in 2003, and she’s also written “The Horse on our Balcony” (2010), a memoir, and a book of essays (2011).
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