Poetry and "Building and Equitable City"

Cultivate Coffee and Tap House hosted Poetry Night, an event that concluded Cultivate’s series of forums titled “Building an Equitable City,” March 31. The evening of poetry began at the Depot Town location, minutes away from Eastern Michigan University, at 7 p.m.

“I believe that this series was a strive to place an emphasis on community engagement and collaboration to seek innovative solutions to ensure that Ypsilanti stands ready to combat the challenges which exist,” said Nadine Marshall, co-creator of “Building an Equitable City” and Eastern Michigan University alumnus.

According to Marshall, the challenges refer to “racial turmoil and inequality.”

The event began with several local poets, including Marshall, reciting single pieces. Each piece dealt with personal struggles, interpersonal struggles or issues about marginalization and inequality.

According to Marshall, “Poetry is a form of activism and healing. Poetry allows us to say the things which are hard to say while also allowing us to build connections with those present for the work.”

The first feature poet was Darius Simpson, an award-winning spoken word poet who graduated from EMU. The next poet to take the stage was Inam Kang, a poet, researcher and student from Metro Detroit. The final poet of the night was Carlina Duan, a poet from Ann Arbor whose work has been published.

“Poetry, I think, plays a really integral role in the dismantling of modern ideologies that sort of keep us stunted as a society. Especially in recent times, art is resistance and the work seems to be an absolute imperative,” said Kang.

“These events are important because of their accessibility and their very public nature,” she said.

“You draw all sorts of crowds, a lot of whom are the people who were raised on this same poetry that doesn't include the voices of the marginalized.”

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