There are lots of deer, living and dead, in these poems. There are also, of course, lakes and rivers and a fair amount of fishing. There's snow. There are forests and sunsets because they, too, are part of what we experience and love about this place. But these editors have made sure there is not just one tone, not just one vision of the state. The cities are here, too, filled with all their problems and hopes. In "Down in Detroit," Terry Blackhawk responds to a suburban librarian who says with shock, "You live down in Detroit?":
Tough enough to loveThe book would not be honest if the poems celebrated only the beauty around us. They must also recognize the battles we continue to fight.
this town without the shocked looks, dropped
jaws of fellow citizens who assume whiteness
unites as they eye you, reassessing instantly.
Several of us, including Gregerson, Kasischke, Kearns, Thomas Lynch, and Swan, will read from Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry on December 4 at Literati Bookstore.
[Originally published in December, 2013.]