A multicultural anthology of Detroit poetry from the 1930s to the present. Do poets' surroundings shape their viewpoint and work? Abandon Automobile seeks to address this question by bringing together the work of more than one hundred of Detroit's most acclaimed and accessible poets. Writing about location as if it were a living entity, these poets visualize Detroit as a variety of complex archetypes - the city becomes a savior, a beast, a nurturing mother, a seductress, a friend, an enemy. Like the city itself, the poetry represented is diverse and the poems are by turns tender, forceful, introspective, and vital. Detroit has given birth to an array of poets - and poetry magazines, artist collectives, workshops, and independent presses dedicated to publishing poetry. Detroit's rich poetic history includes such figures as Philip Levine, Dudley Randall, John Sinclair, W. D. Snodgrass, Naomi Long Madgett, and Robert Hayden. In the introduction to the volume, Melba Joyce Boyd and M. L. Liebler show how Detroit's poetry scene has changed over the years to embrace political movements and cultural transformations.
Detroit poetry has flourished at poetry slams, at open mic readings, and through independent poetry presses. Readers will find that one doesn't need to be a Detroit native to enjoy the many themes of this anthology. The poems bring to life Detroit's history as a port city, life in the automobile factories, Detroit's checkered past and the race riots, the cultural experiences of Detroit's diverse population, Motown's music scene, and its urban and political struggles. The exciting range of voices represented in this collection will appeal to anyone interested in poetry, regional literature, and urban life.