Write A House is thrilled to name poet Casey Rocheteau as the winner of its first residency in Detroit. Rocheteau will receive a newly renovated home that is hers to keep, forever. She expects to move from Brooklyn to Detroit in November. “I am elated to have been chosen!” said Rocheteau. “Being granted with this opportunity to take root in a city so rich with history, creativity and tenacity is truly an honor. I look forward to exploring Detroit and getting to know its literary community.”
Billy Collins, the former U.S. poet laureate, was one of the judges that selected Rocheteau. “These are witty but deeply serious poems,” Collins wrote in his citation of the poems she submitted with her application. “The poet uses straightforward language and clear syntax to address some of the more frightening aspects of racism.”
Rocheteau is a writer, historian, and performing artist. She has attended the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop, Cave Canem, and Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and she has released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record. Her book, Knocked Up On Yes, was released on Sargent Press in 2012, and her second collection, The Dozen, will be published in March 2016 by Sibling Rivalry Press. Rocheteau can be found online at www.caseyrocheteau.org and @CaseyRocheteau.
“Casey's work stood out for the judges and it's easy to see why: her poetry absolutely breaks through,” said Toby Barlow, Write A House’s co-founder. “We're looking forward to having that voice come express itself in Detroit.”
Detroit will welcome Rocheteau to the city’s literary community at a celebratory event on September 19 at Public Pool in Hamtramck, sponsored by the Detroit Free Press. The event will spotlight South African author Lauren Beukes and her new novel, Broken Monsters, which is set in Detroit.
Write A House will open a new round of applications in early 2015 for its next set of houses, located in the same Banglatown/No Ham neighborhood where Rocheteau will reside.
By renovating vacant homes in a diverse Detroit neighborhood, in partnership with Young Detroit Builders, Write A House is building the literary arts in Detroit, supporting skilled writers, providing vocational education for youth, and stabilizing neighborhoods.
Hundreds of talented writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry applied in the first round of applications in 2014. Writing quality was the most important part of the application. In the first phase of the application process, a panel of judges—Collins, Major Jackson, Michael Stone-Richards, dream hampton, Tamara Warren, Sean MacDonald, and Toby Barlow—vetted candidates through a blind process. A shortlist of 10 finalists was announced in August 2014.
Young Detroit Builders is a YouthBuild USA-affiliated nonprofit organization that has been offering education, support services, counseling, leadership development, job and life skills preparation, on- the-job residential construction training and NCCER certification since 1996. Young Detroit Builders are 18-24 year old students working towards their GED while earning a modest living allowance and participating in this full-time, 10-month training program.
Interested writers and non-writers alike can support the future of Write A House and Detroit’s literary community by making a donation to Write A House through Fundly. Follow Write A House on Facebook and Twitter for more updates on the program.
For Press Inquiries: Sarah F. Cox, Co-President