Last week, I was invited by poet, professor, and event organizer M. L. Liebler to take part in his reading series known as Poets & Pies. As the title suggests, this literary showcase brings together a mix of writers and delicious pie! While the series is held at various locations around Metro Detroit, the February 5 event took place at the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library.
The Main Library is a historical building listed in the National Register of Historic Places that is part of the city’s Cultural Center Historic District in the Midtown area. It is home to various spaces that are open to public use. For Poets & Pies, we found ourselves in the Explorers Room, a basement-level performance space complete with a stage, piano, and private bathrooms.
I shared the stage with Lori Tucker-Sullivan and Ruben Guevara. Lori is a Detroit-based writer whose poems, essays, stories, and reviews have appeared in various magazines and journals. Her essay “Detroit, 2015,” which explores her decision to return to Detroit after the death of her husband, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Midwestern Gothic and received a notable selection in Best American Essays 2015. Ruben is best known as the front man of the 1970s experimental rock band Ruben and the Jets and shared his history with the band and other encounters in the world of rock music. He also read a couple poems.
This event was funded in part by a Poets & Writers mini-grant. We enjoyed poetry, pie, and hilarious reflections on the life of a rocker. I think that Poets & Pies is a perfect example of how to curate a literary event that serves Detroiters of all artistic backgrounds while keeping things fresh and exciting. Their upcoming events will be held at the Hannan Center every month beginning on May 4. Check it out if you’re in town!Justin Rogers is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Detroit. Contact him at Detroit@pw.org or on Twitter, @Detroitpworg.