Viewing entries tagged
Detroit

So Detroit Now

So Detroit Now

Someone (OK, it was me) has fed my cat Bengali food and now, when he smells it cooking, he meows out the window toward the neighbor’s house, running to me if I move or change positions or even glance up from my desk. Anne, someone is cooking my lunch! is what he believes he is communicating. We’d better go see if it is ready, together, here let me get the door!

The Past, Present and Paczki Day

The Past, Present and Paczki Day

“How much for a dozen,” a woman asked, poking her head through the door. “I don’t know, I’m just security!” a man yelled back. Around 30 people had crammed themselves inside a small bakery, responsible for sending the smell of sweet dough down the street as a sort of invisible, olfactory siren call.  Spindles of white strung hung across the ceiling, used to tie pastry boxes full of a once-a-year- delicacy that felt holy in more ways than one. The more people were served, the more came in. “I feel like I’m parting the Red Sea,” said a man who had just collected his order from the counter and was now trying to get through the shop to the snow awaiting him outside.

Coming to America's Comeback City

Coming to America's Comeback City

On Oct. 3, I landed in Detroit for a three day out-of-body experience. I walked down the escalator, staring at a banner that welcomed me to “America’s great comeback city,” out through baggage claim and met the founders of Write A House, a unique non-profit aimed at giving writers permanent residencies through rehabbed houses in Detroit to keep forever. Three hours later, I welcomed close to 100 people to my new home - a phrase that still feels strange to write, or even say. The night began and ended in a blur, in beaming smiles and hellos, in a news crew ambush, in the smooth countertops I brushed my hands against, the new wooden floors I walked on carefully in heels, in handshakes and speeches, introductions, congratulations, in conversation and community.

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

I left Detroit for a few weeks to go back to Massachusetts. It’s the third time I’ve been outside of Detroit since moving, and in many ways it was the strangest journey, because I was gone longer than before, and I was returning “home” home to where I grew up. For most of the time I was away I was on Cape Cod, and while I was there in part to see family, I was also attending a week-long workshop at the Fine Art Works Center in Provincetown. The workshop leader also happened to be Matthew Olzmann, who is from Detroit, and has lived in Hamtramck for many years.

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 2

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 2

 TD: I can’t wait till I get (to Detroit) again. I want to see your house. Where is it?

CR: Just south of Davison, near Conant.

TD: Over on the east side. Oh yeah, because that’s where Conant Gardens is. That’s where I grew up.

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 1

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 1

Last week, I had the honor of attending Cave Canem Retreat as a second-year fellow. Cave Canem is an organization built for poets of African descent, founded twenty years ago by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady. It has been called “the major watering hole and air pocket for black poetry” by Nikky Finney. While fellows and faculty run a three year course before graduating from Cave Canem, its two cornerstones have always been Toi and Cornelius. This year also marked Toi’s last year as faculty of the retreat. For those readers unfamiliar with Toi Derricotte, she was born in Hamtramck and lived in and around Detroit through her mid 20’s. Her work, much like her, is simultaneously vulnerable and unabashed, often saying that which would otherwise go unspoken in American literature or elsewhere. Toi has long encouraged Cave Canem fellows to “write the hard poem”, as she has done time and time again. It is thanks to Cave Canem that I now feel re-invigorated to do just that, over and over again. I had a chance to speak with her on the last day of the retreat, an in the interest of brevity, I have broken the interview into two parts. Enjoy!

Stop Worrying

Stop Worrying

It’s raining for the first time since I planted seedlings.

I woke up at eight this morning, and before having a cup of coffee, cleaned all the dishes, the literbox, the back room, watered the garden some and potted seeds. I ran water through the coffee maker, because it jammed up yesterday and I was too lazy to fix it.

Interview with Liza Bielby about the Porous Borders Festival

Interview with Liza Bielby about the Porous Borders Festival

I sat down this week to chat with my neighbor Liza Bielby about the Porous Borders Festival happening next weekend around the Detroit and Hamtramck border. Liza is part of The Hinterlands, the group responsible for organizing the festival. Read what she has to say, visit the website, and come out to the festival. [Shameless plug] I'm hosting an event called The Breakdown on Saturday May 16th at 8 pm, where anyone with a story to tell, talent to showcase, song to sing, fruit to juggle is invited to perform when the spirit moves them. 

Thaw

Thaw

I’m sluggish and winter is not quite over. Today I got the last piece of furniture I needed to feel like my house was completely furnished—a dining room table. If you’ve seen photos of the brave new home, then you know there’s not really a dining room, but a bench that comes off of my kitchen counter.

An Interview with Dr. Aneb Kgositsile

Hello all,I know I typically post on Mondays, but this week things moved a little differently. This week, I've transcribed most of an hour long interview with the poet, activist, editor and professor of African American Studies, Dr. Aneb Kgositsile aka Gloria House. Aneb has worked for many years with Broadside Press, a radical black publishing house founded by the poet Dudley Randall in Detroit in 1965.

Where Do We Go From Here???

Where Do We Go From Here???

This week I want say happy Birthday to Angela Davis and Anita Baker, and talk specifically about settling in. I've written about Detroit more broadly and some of my experiences in it as well as some history, and I'd like to focus more on my experience growing into the house I call the Brave New Home.

How to Survive in Detroit Without Really Drivin

How to Survive in Detroit Without Really Drivin

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Day!

Today, I want to answer a question I get asked frequently, and tie in a little history as well. The question in question: how do you get around if you don’t drive? The answer is simple—ride-sharing apps and kindness. I’ve never had a license. 

Ark & Flame

Ark & Flame

Within the first month of moving to Detroit two different friends took me to see the Heidelberg Project. For those of you unfamiliar with this incredible public art space, check out their website. Founded in 1986 by Tyree Guyton, his wife Karen, and his grandfather Sam Mackey, The Heidelberg Project has been around for nearly my entire life, and like any great work of art, it has garnered its fair share of controversy.

2015: The Year of Relentless Optimism

2015: The Year of Relentless Optimism

Happy 2015 Everyone!

In this new year, I’ll be posting to the Write A House blog once a week. My intention is to write about my experiences here in Detroit, highlight some of the amazing spots in the city, and interview folks within the writing, publishing and arts communities here in the D. I’ve been here just over two months now, and can comfortably say that I truly enjoy living here. So much has happened in the past few months that a recap would be cumbersome, so I’ll try to focus in on a few elements to here.

Get to Know The Neighborhood: Author Steve Hughes

Get to Know The Neighborhood: Author Steve Hughes

Steve Hughes is one very interesting humanoid. He has been listening to stories with acuteness for years, producing small publications of 1,000 copies or fewer of self-published work using words and images called Zines. Stupor is his Zine, which is unique because each issue has a different subject matter.