April is National Poetry Month, a time when we celebrate poets, their works and the people who help the art flourish. Southeast Michigan is home to a multitude of connoisseurs with passion for poetry who organize special events throughout the year, ranging from oeuvres by Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen to The Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare. For your cultural enrichment, kindly consider these popular poetry jubilees in the Detroit area.
Royal Oak Nature Society
Royal Oak Elks Club
2401 E. 4th St.
Royal Oak, MI 48067
The Royal Oak Nature Society is sponsoring a Young Poets Contest for the 2013 National Poetry Month in April. This contest is open to all students in grades two through five who are currently enrolled in the Royal Oak Public Schools. The poem must be nature related – an element (like air or water), flora (such as trees or flowers) or fauna (animals, reptiles, insects, etc.). Several respected judges review all submissions. The winning poet is acknowledged at the Nature Society’s 8th Annual Fundraiser to be held on April 19, 2013 at the Royal Oak Elks Club. The prizewinner receives a private pond experience for 10 with the Nature Society naturalist, to be held at Dragonfly Pond in Tenhave Woods.
Shakespeare In The Park
Starr Jaycee Park
W. Thirteenmile Road
1 Block East of Crooks
Royal Oak, MI 48068
The Bard of Avon composed 154 sonnets, two lengthy narrative poems and a plethora of poetic miscellanea. Shakespeare In The Park runs open-air performances in iambic pentameter throughout the summer in beautiful park settings. Guests can bring comfortable folding chairs and listen to classic William, accompanied by theatrical presentation. Vendors provide refreshments, or patrons are allowed to “take it with you.” Past shows have included “Summer Sonnets,” wherein Shakespeare’s poetry is set to a modern tale by celebrated playwright Audra Lord. This series is fun for the entire family. Other performances have varying ticket fees.
The Rochester Poetry Society
The Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters
336 S. Main St.
Rochester, MI 48307
Under the umbrella of the Poetry Society of Michigan, The Rochester Poetry Society meets monthly to extol this grand and beauteous art. In July, the group holds a reading in the Rochester Municipal Park called “Poetry in the Park.” It is an informal event held in the Kiwanis Pavilion, with seating at picnic tables. Most frequently, the society holds readings at the Dessert Oasis, a charming coffee shop featuring a cozy room with lots of ambiance, a fireplace and comfortable armchairs. On April 19, 2013 at 7 p.m., the group will feature local poets reading original work; the audience may sip coffee or tea and enjoy a wide assortment of pastries baked daily in the Dessert Oasis’ ovens. The Rochester group is home to the aristocracy of Michigan poetry, including James Ahern, President of the Poetry Societies of Michigan and Polly Opsahl, Editor of the PSM Newsletter, as well as Secretary of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS).
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Southeast Michigan Poetry Meetup Group
117 W. 4th St.
Royal Oak, MI 48067
The Southeast Michigan Poetry Meetup Group is a fun posse of poets who get together in a charming tea house for casual poetry readings and sharing. They offer a warm and cozy experience for people who love poetry but don’t want to be competitive against each other. This group is perfect for beginners who seek a gentle, nurturing environment without any stress. Conveniently meeting in Royal Oak, participants arrive early to experience the affable social life which flourishes in the artsy town.
Springfed Poetry and Music Series
Birmingham Unitarian Church
38651 Woodward Ave.
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Springfed Arts is a large organization that runs poetry workshops, songwriting classes, creative writing classes and other events throughout the year. The organization also holds a poetry contest with prizes ranging from $50 to $150 for best entries. Each class costs $110 for members, and financial aid is available. Membership costs $50 per year. The group’s newsletter has listings of writing events held by other Michigan organizations, and is a valuable resource for serious poets.
Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He has seasonal residency in Detroit Michigan, The Italian Riviera, and Honolulu Hawaii. His work can be found at Examiner.com.