Join two of Detroit’s finest literary minds, Melba Joyce Boyd and M.L. Liebler, at the historic Scarab Club for a dynamic presentation on the unique, daring and diverse world of Motor City poetry and literature over the past century.
From the 1940s to the 1960s, industrial wealth embellished the city’s educational and cultural institutions, while a great migration of working class people from all over flooded the city with new creative energy. This blending of cultures, in tandem with the city’s industrial identity, birthed artistic voices from a myriad of ethnicities. The poetry community grew as emerging educational programs provided intellectual and creative space for these new artists.
Detroit was home to the most impressive collection of independent poetry presses in the nation, including Broadside Press, Lotus Press, and the Alternative Press that provided a voice for the poetic revolution in the city. Throughout the years, Detroit laid claim to legendary poets and artists that were dynamic and unpretentious, creating timeless works that spoke as much to blue collar laborers as they did the intellectual elite.
Boyd and Liebler will discuss several of the key figures in Detroit’s modern literary history, including (l to r) Philip Levine, Robert Hayden, Dudley Randall, and Naomi Long Madgett.
$5 suggested donation at the door
(to support the Scarab Club and Book Club of Detroit)
Our Venue:The Scarab Club
The Scarab Club was founded in 1907 by a group of artists and art lovers who enjoyed meeting regularly to discuss art and socialize. Many of the original founding members of the Scarab Club consisted of automotive designers, advertising illustrators, graphic artists, photographers, architects, and automobile company owners. Besides hosting various events, such as the costumed Scarab Club balls for members and others to attract the general public, the Scarab Club managed working artist studios that still continue today. The Scarab Club continues to be a driving force in the artistic community and is proud to serve Michigan as a cultural stimulant for artistic diversity in the 21st century.
Co-Presenter: The Book Club of Detroit
Founded in 1957, The Book Club of Detroit is a non-profit association of Detroit-area bibliophiles who assemble periodically for the purpose of stimulating a mutual interest in books, manuscripts, and prints, specifically those aspects concerned with collecting, bibliography, design, production, conservation, and preparation. Our chief aims are to further the interests of book collectors and to promote an understanding and appreciation of fine books and printing.
Melba Joyce Boyd is the author of Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press and Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825–1911 (2004 American Library Association, Black Caucus Honor Award for Nonfiction), editor of Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall (2010 Michigan Notable Book Award, Independent Publishers Gold Award), co-editor of Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001, and author of nine books of poetry, including Death Dance of a Butterfly, which received the 2013 Michigan Notable Book Award for Poetry. She is a distinguished university professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Wayne State University and adjunct professor at the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
M.L. Liebler is on the faculty of the department of English at Wayne State University and is the author of several books of poetry, including Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream, The Moon a Box, Written in Rain: New and Selected Poems, 1985–2000, and Stripping the Adult Century Bare: New and Selected Writings. He is the director of Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization, and co-editor of the Made in Michigan Writers Series.
This event is part of Lit in the Mitt Month this May - Free and low cost literary events in the D all month long. More info at litinthemitt.org