I was thrilled on a recent visit to Western International High School, a Detroit Public School close to the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, when I had the opportunity to witness a poetry reading by students who had been part of the legendary InsideOut Literary Arts Project. As is clearly demonstrated on their Facebook page, InsideOut empowers students throughout Detroit by affording them a vehicle to express their thoughts and feelings in creative and unfettered ways. The work dispels despair and replaces it with hope.
Students read, recited and performed their poetry in Western's black box theatre. Poems spoke of the reality of growing up amidst the challenges of adolescence. Some poets spoke of the inequity and indignity faced by people of color and the societal challenges we all must address in order to create a more just reality for everyone.
InsideOut Literary Arts Project gives student voices power through presence and audience at Western
Western students fully express the reality of teenage life in Southwest Detroit
Ultimately, poets leave their audience with hope or challenge for improving the status quo