Poet Melba Joyce Boyd of Wayne State University

o be a poet such as Melba J. Boyd is to be in tune with the vital creative force that pulses through the Motor City.

In her role as professor and chair of Africana Studies at Wayne State University, Boyd helps facilitate the exchange of knowledge so Detroiters of all colors may think outside their cultural comforts and greater feed their inner muses. But in the pursuit of a city vibrant in fine artistry, she explains, we cannot overlook a basic need for people to feed themselves. And here is where her dream is not poetry, but practical.

"My dream for Detroit is for full, viable employment for its citizens," says Boyd. "I'm more concerned about what is essential for the people. Poetry is thriving in Detroit."

Boyd is the author of 13 books on the subjects of politics, poetry, Dudley Randall and other literary showcases of prose. And her book, Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press (Columbia University Press) received the 2005 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Book Honor for Nonfiction.

After all, "I'm a poet," she says simply. "We don't care about the venue. We just want to write."


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