Celebrate National Poetry Month with These 12 Metro Detroit Events

Here’s what open mic nights, writing workshops, and panel events to check out
national poetry month
Poetry Blast at the University of Michigan is encouraging the community to read, write, or listen to a poem this month. // Photograph by Scott Soderberg/Michigan Photography

To honor National Poetry Month this April, plenty of local businesses and organizations are hosting events that you won’t want to miss. See what InsideOut Literary Arts, The Detroit Writing Room, Pages Bookshop, and more are doing below.

Poetry Blast

Throughout National Poetry Month, the University of Michigan’s Institute of the Humanities is hosting outdoor poetry exhibitions, daily readings, and poetry prompts. The goal is for everyone in the community to read a poem, write a poem, or listen to a poem in April. No cost. Through April 30. Virtual and in-person events; more details at lsa.umich.edu

A Celebration of Michigan Poets with Royal Oak Public Library

Join the Royal Oak Public Library for a Zoom poetry reading that honors Michigan poets. The event features Terry Bohnhorst Blackhawk, the founding director of InsideOut Literary Arts and a finalist for the 2020 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize from Cutthroat magazine; Dennis Hinrichsen, the first poet laureate of the Greater Lansing area and the winner of the Grid Poetry Prize for his 2020 collection; and Jack Ridl, the poet laureate of Douglas, Michigan, who released his last poetry book in 2019. No cost; registration required. April 8. Virtual event; ropl.org

Poetry + Live Music

Spoken word artist La Shaun phoenix Moore is hosting an evening with poet Natasha T. Miller and Chicago-Detroit-based musician Alexis Lombre. Miller will read poems from her new book, Butcher. The event will be held at The Cube in Detroit and streamed online. $9. April 13. Virtual event; dso.org

Centered Catharsis: A Community Writing Workshop

Open to all ages, InsideOut’s virtual writing workshop gives participants a chance to work on poems and enjoy the writing process. Those who sign up will be given prompts and have the opportunity to share their work. No cost; registration required. April 17. Virtual event; facebook.com/events  

April is Poetry Month Open Mic Zoom

In honor of National Poetry Month, the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham has put together a digital open mic night for kids. Those in grades three to six are welcome to write their own poem or bring their favorite poem written by somebody else to share with the other participants. No cost; registration required. April 21. Virtual event; facebook.com/events

Discover Poetry: Ada Limón

Pages Bookshop’s new series focuses on the art of poetry. This month, the bookstore is partnering with Kassy Lee, a postgraduate Zell fellow at the University of Michigan, for a Discover Poetry discussion on Ada Limón’s 2018 work, The Carrying. Now available in paperback, the poetry collection is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Those who are interested in joining the event can purchase a copy of The Carrying at Pages. No cost. April 21. Virtual event; pagesbkshop.com

The Central Nervous System & The Heart: Poems of Queer Resistance

Local poet Stephanie Glazer is leading this Detroit Writing Room workshop that will explore poems written by queer poets. The event will discuss the works of Nikkey Finney, Stacie Casarino, Audre Lorde, Tommy Blount, and more. $50. April 21. Virtual event; eventbrite.com 

Citywide Poets Saturday Share Open Mic: Featuring Nadine Marshall

For its April 24 open mic event on Instagram Live, Citywide Poets will feature special guest Nadine Marshall, who goes by “MARS.” The writer and cultural organizer was a 2019 Lambda Literary Art Emerging Writers fellow in poetry and has been published in the Lambda Literary Art anthology Emerge, Foglifter Journal, Gertrude Press, and more. Citywide Poets is InsideOut’s afterschool program for teens. No cost. April 24. Virtual event; facebook.com/events

Linda Nemec Foster in Conversation with Keith Taylor

Ann Arbor-based Literati Bookstore is hosting a conversation between poets Keith Taylor and Linda Nemec Foster. A part of the shop’s At Home with Literati Series, the two will discuss Foster’s new collection  —The Blue Divide: Poems comes out in May — and welcome questions from the audience during a Q&A portion. No cost; $5 donations are welcome. April 27. Virtual event; literatibookstore.com

Detroit Writing Room Black Voices Series ft. Detroit Poets

The Detroit Writing Room is closing out National Poetry Month with a reading and panel featuring three Detroit poets. Moderated by the event and writing space’s house poet, The Sound Yogi, the readings and panel will include Nandi Comer, Righteous Knowledge, and Jessie Smith, aka SLo Smiff. A Q&A session will follow the talk. $15. April 29. Virtual event; eventbrite.com 

Susan Briante in conversation with Phil Metres and Tess Taylor

Poets Susan Briante, Philip Metres, and Tess Taylor will discuss and share their work during this panel, titled On Witness in a Time of Crisis. Their recent books cover everything from the Israel/Palestine conflict to documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. A Q&A portion will follow the discussion. No cost; $5 donations are welcome. April 29. Virtual event; literatibookstore.com

Virtual Open Mic & Iftar: What’s On Your Plate?

The Arab American National Museum is honoring National Poetry Month and Arab American Heritage Month, the latter of which is also held in April, with an online open might night. The museum’s artist-in-residence Lara Atallah will host the event, which is open to poets as well as writers of prose, music, and more. No cost. April 30. Virtual event; facebook.com/events