UrbanArtistry is a nonprofit program, (supported by the Claude Harvard Foundation), dedicated to bringing art to young and old in the most interesting ways. This journal will have comments from those participating in the first UrbanArtistry workshop in Detroit, Michigan as well as the other events to follow. UrbanArtistry:Detroit creative focus is POETRY. Come journey with us as we explore the arts and contribute to the greatest good!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Experiencing the SLAM


UrbanArtistry: Detroit not only gave the local young poets new experiences but me too! April 1, 2005 I happened to be in town on a qualifying night for the chance to make the Detroit's Slam team. Hey, I'd never participated in one before yet heard good to not so good things about them from older established poets. Before I could add my two cents I thought I needed to participate and get that investigative first hand experience. Well, to my surprise (luck, quality of other performer poets, and whimsy of judges) I made it to the semi-finals. After being told to come to the Max at 8:30 on the 15th I left the Meetery Eatery.

I arrived at the Max on April 15, 2005 and was promptly disqualified because I was late. After paying my $10 and demanding a valid reason for my disqualification, I was told I'd been contacted via email and phone about the time change. I never got an email and I realized after listening to my messages the phone call came on the day of the competition. I also realized I'd would have never been able to rearrange my life on such short notice to make the 2.5 hour drive to the city, but hey I was here mainly for the slam experience. My fate as a participant was put to a vote of the other competing poets. They let me participate and I got the great opportunity

I lost and I won. Now I know what my two cents are about slams... I love every part of them except the randomness of the judges. I mean I don't play the lottery or otherwise gamble with my heard earned money, so why would I subject my poetry to the scrutiny of randomly picked fleas?

I was most shut down by one former "judge" (she'd "judged" me in the qualifying round) who approached me after the Max event and said, "I'm surprised. You did better than I thought you would."

Though I thought "Fleas think?" my curiosity had me ask, "Why would you say that?"

Her reply: "You don't sound Detroit enough."

True, I don't live in the city any more but before I left I lived on Pennslyvania, the BLVD, Grandy, Steel, Lennox, Wayburn, Medbury, Elgin, Charles, etc... so I realized fleas don't think but they should before they speak.

Next Steps


It has been close to a month since the UrbanArtistry event in Detroit. Since then I've been planning the next one for Grand Rapids, editing the collection from the young Detroit poets, and trying to figure out money. I hope to have the collection UrbanArtistry: Detroit City Poems available somewhere for you to buy soon (in the city and possibly by mail).

Friday, April 01, 2005



I'm exhausted and broke, but still happy to get UrbanArtistry started. If you're reading the other posts you see the workshop participants come with various views. This week has been extremely busy. I hope all the poets are finding this a good way to spend their spring break and I look forward to our poetry reading this Sunday, April 3, 2005 at Borders bookstore in Downtown Detroit.

The best events of this week for me has been seeing young poets try new things, like humus and curry chicken! So far, the poets are doing great. Today we discussed the poets handbook from Haki Madhubuti's newest work Run Toward Fear their comments are both insightful and funny. I hope to have clips of our week up on the blogg (as well as pictures) in the near future. So check back with the blogg and write your comments to any of our posts.

Thank you.

I gotta go to bed now because tomorrow it's the Detroit Institute of Arts and writing to get ready for our reading on Sunday.