Poems of Detroit by Philip Levine

Detroit Book Depository

It’s embarrassing to admit as a poet, but I hadn’t read a lot of Philip Levine’s poetry before moving to the Detroit area. And even then, I discovered it incidentally. Yet Philip Levine’s poetry about Detroit proved welcome reading to a newcomer trying to uncover what this scarred and divided city is all about.

Levine wrote the style of poetry that I aspire to. His poetry is visceral. It provides a glimpse into the heart of a working-class Detroiter, and gives us a tremendous understanding of what sense of place. His poetry transports you to a moment in time, generally a moment in time somewhere in Detroit. I invite you to read a few of these poems from Philip Levine from The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry:

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Give to these Charities for the Homeless in Detroit

The homeless of Detroit need your help

“Detroit is on the way up.” I’ve heard that phrase quite a bit since I moved to the area. I guess “up” depends on your perspective. For many, the city is still as cold and hard as it’s every been. According to COTS, there are 16,000 homeless on any given night in Detroit, and one-third of these are children.

Earlier I highlighted our Lenten goal of helping homeless charities in Detroit with the funds they need for food, clothing and other items for those among us who are in need. In case you were hoping to pitch in, here are a few organizations helping the homeless:

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What to give up for Lent and how to make it count

Coke Can

Lent is the season in which Catholics traditionally “give something up” for forty days, just like Christ fasted for forty days in the desert. But sometimes Lenten promises are a lot like New Year’s resolutions.

Everyone starts out bound and determined to give up something that they’ve been bound and determined to give up every year. Smoking. Overeating. Eating out too much. Not working out. They eventually start to sputter. They go back to the previous state.

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3 NAIAS displays that are trying really hard

Jeep Sticker_mini

If you’ve been to the 2015 Detroit Auto Show you may have noticed that some of the manufacturers’ displays are, well, trying really hard to get a point across. Whether it was targeting of a certain customer type or trying to make a brand statement, there was no mistaking the intention.

It’s not as though it’s often difficult to get an idea of what message the marketing folks at an auto company are trying to communicate. I mean just watch this Super Bowl commercial. From flannel to, well, barely clad, here are a couple of the displays that slapped me in the face.

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Pączki: Hard to say, easy to love


POONCH-key. I’ve been told that that’s how you pronounce the word printed on that box. I had to use a special Polish keyboard tool just to be able to properly type the name. It might be difficult to say, but it’s worth learning if you like delicious pastries.

My fiance’s family introduced me to pączki as an after-breakfast desert. The pastry looks like a filled donut, a treat I try to avoid because Bavarian cream is so heavy. But I was in for a surpise. The filling inside pączki is very light, and the hint of lemon (I read that orange zest is also used) was fluffy and delicious.

Moving to Detroit has already exposed me to several new cultural traditions. And this is another one from the large Polish population.

Pączki is known as a delicacy used to celebrate Mardi Gras. While in the south people are slinging beads and getting trashed, the Polish celebrate the beginning of lent by enjoying a treat that they’re going to give up for the season. It’s so popular that I’ve heard that pączki is hard to find in the days leading up to Mardi Gras.

The pączki that we ate last weekend was found at Meijer. Yet as with all things ethnic, you’re likely to find the tastiest renditions at mom and pop shops. If you live in the Detroit area, Hamtramck would be a good place to start (the New Palace Bakery has good reviews).

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I’m Winning Over Michiganders with this Cincinnati Breakfast Favorite

Goetta patties frying

Nothing gets a ten degree Michigan winter morning off to a better start than a hearty breakfast of goetta and eggs. If only Michiganders knew about it!

At home in northern Kentucky, bringing up the topic of goetta sparks an argument over whose recipe is better. There’s a festival in Covington dedicated to different varieties of the stuff. But when I mentioned it to my fiance’s family in Michigan, I was met with a lot of blank stares.I had a lot of explaining to do.

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