Great artists and writers have come from Detroit for centuries. It’s no suprise since the city offers abundant inspiration.

(credit: Alex Lumelsky/

M.L. Liebler

Liebler is a university professor and author of 13 books, including Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream (Wayne State University Press, 2008).  He has received both the Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence and the American Indie Book Award. In addition to his many books,  Liebler performed and taught poetry all around the world.  He is the founding director of both The National Writer’s Voice Project in Detroit and has taught at Wayne State University in Detroit since 1980


Airea Matthews

Airea “Dee” Matthews won the 2008 Detroit Grand Slam Champion title besting some of the top performance poets in the city. She graduated in 1994 from the University of Pennsylvania and in 2004 with an M.P.A. with a concentration in social policy from the University of Michigan.  She produced the DVD performance collection, Venus Disrobed. She has been a creative facilitator and executive board member of the Prison Creative Arts Project based at the University of Michigan.


Clayton Eshleman

Professor Emeritus at Eastern Michigan University, Eshleman, has been granted several research fellowships as well as honors from the Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of more than 30 books. Eshleman currently resides in Ypsilanti where he teaches various classes and workshops at EMU.


Ron Allen

Ron Allen passed away in August of 2010. He was one of Detroit’s most beloved poets. He described being a poet as “an identity.” A Vietnam veteran, Allen began writing when he returned to Detroit from the war. Along with writing poetry, Allen wrote 13 plays and started the the acting company Thick Knot Rhythm Ensemble.

Comments (5)