NEWS! ...

New chapbook from Terry - The Whisk and Whir of Wings


An avid birder as well as an accomplished poet, Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellow Terry Blackhawk has selected favorite "bird poems" from her four previous volumes and collected them in The Whisk and Whir of Wings. Grounded in hours of observation, work as an Audubon volunteer, and encounter with the natural world, the poems explore boundaries between the ecological and the psychological. As they travel from backyard to mountainsides, they invite the reader to join in pursuit of the hidden, the wild, the edge of language, what is beyond the frame. Ecstatic or meditative, watchful or wry, Terry Blackhawk's voice owes something to both Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop. This new collection celebrates the acceptance of change but also fulfills the human need for "perch and purchase." The "whisk and whir" of these poems' memorable music take us to swamp and woodland, beach and river, Ecuador, Detroit, Key West, into the heart of loss, memory, and love-wherever wing beats "exalt" or "disturb" our air.


Available now from The Museum Store, $10.00


Chief U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood, left, and former chief Judge Gerald Rosen.(Photo: U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan)

The Passing of the Gavel

for the Honorable Denise Page Hood, with gratitude for her service to the
children of Detroit on the InsideOut Literary Arts Project Board of Directors

If the trees inspire your poems,

why not read your poems to the trees,
suggested one child.  With my poems
I push back, proclaimed another.  Mine
write a path to the clouds, said a third.

A poem is a bridge, a stay in words,
an opening in the heart, a point of impact. 
Think sound, think attention,
the snap of a monk’s fingers,
the stroke on a bell or chime, or the quick
rap of the gavel. 

Each sound has its outer-
most echo of vibration, its one point
to the last atom’s shiver on the edge
of awareness. 

Dickinson knew that edge.  My business
is Circumference, she declared, meaning
the line between what we know and cannot
know.  Remember
when we took her to the House of Art,
readers from eight to eighty paying tribute
to her, and you, dear Denise, your friends
filling the chairs.

Now tribute is what we give again, 
and here our gavel echoes back
through centuries, as gafol “tribute”
in medieval England, from Old English
giefan "to give" or, from Welsh
“to hold.”

Here is what I know
within our sphere, despite our damaged air: 
how this decade long each child’s poem
has sung in part and echoed out into the world
because of you.  Their words dig
into loss and limitation. They stake
claims and hopes and challenges,  
say their poems live in stars
waiting to be wished on, find the magic
inside their pencils.

And is this not a field for justice?

Let the gavel sound an oasis of love
and imagination.  When danger beats
at their front doors, may their poems become
a force field around them, as you, dear Judge,
with your kind guidance, have been for us all. 

- Terry Blackhawk

Presented at the investiture of Denise Page Hood as Chief Judge of the US District Federal Court on January 28, 2016. 
Published in HOUR Detroit, March 2016

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Naomi Long Madgett, Bill Harris, Lolita Hernandez, Terry Blackhawk & Melba Joyce Boyd

EVENT: Public unveiling of ten large­scale portraits, meet and greet with muralist Nicole Macdonald, followed by poetry reading with poets featured in the portrait series. Book signing with poets to follow reading.

DATE: Sunday, September 20th, 2015 TIME: 1:00 ­ 3:00pm reading, 3:00 ­ 4:00pm book signing

LOCATION: Eastern Market, Shed 3 (center of building), 1445 Adelaide, Detroit, MI 48207

(DETROIT) – On Sunday, September 20th, five Detroit poets and publishers depicted in the ongoing public art project, 'The Detroit Portrait Series,' will stage readings of their works at Detroit Eastern Market (Shed 3).

Beginning Saturday, September 12th, the five readers’ portraits along with those of Philip Levine, Mick Vranich, Dudley Randall, Robert Hayden, and Sixto Rodriguez will be displayed on large - scale painted panels in Shed 3 for one month.

After their residency at Eastern Market, the panels will travel to their permanent location in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit where they will be installed on the boarded-up windows of the Liquor Store on the corner of Trumbull Ave and I-94 service drive. The series is sponsored by Larry John and Dr. Lilian Lai of Woodbridge Co., who have renovated Woodbridge properties and promoted public art in the neighborhood for the past 35 years.

Each of the poets and publishers depicted in the series have made a significant contribution to the city of Detroit, through the establishment of independent writing presses, outreach organizations, and their role as educators – in an academic setting and beyond. The ultimate installation site of these portraits, across from Wayne State University, is intended to connect the significant role that the university has played in the scholarship of many of these writers.

Portraits in this series are part of an ongoing public art project by Detroit muralist Nicole Macdonald. The series is inspired by Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, which aims to tell history from the 'bottom-up', portraying leaders and everyday heroes who have struggled for justice and equality.

Wayne State University Press will be in attendance to introduce the authors, book signing to follow the reading.


PBS logo

Young Detroiters unlock their inner poets, claim authorship of their experiences

Detroit schools are turning their students into published poets with a little guidance from professional writers and a program called InsideOut. Jeffrey Brown reflects with U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey about visiting the Motor City middle-schoolers and the "sense of power" she witnessed as they found their voices.


Springfield Arts 2013, 1st Place Poetry Winner for "Florida"


The dream tells me where I am:
nose close to a tulip tree
filled with lime green finches,
one that sports a spectacled mask
miming my every move.  But here
all the palms look the same
and I am lost again in the parking lot
outside the hospital, searching
for my rental car, no stars,
no bearings, while across the planet
actual birds are falling from the sky.  
At night I swim in the hotel pool
and look up past the trees.   I have placed
the beach flotsam we gathered
next to the outdoor sink, said farewell
to sponge and seawrack,
and paid up the cottage and thrown away
the food we bought to move across town
into emergency housing.  I have called
your children and sorted and shipped
your things and have ridden the elevator
up through the indoor atrium, past
the potted ficus trees and the pianist
playing holiday songs, and held firm
with the nurses and social workers
and moved your tray and adjusted the blinds,
the bed and the television and watched
the TV until it was time to go. 
I rode in the ambulance and
crossed the bridge and trembled in
the waiting room and met the doctors.
While they operated I drove out to the shore.
I walked the beach and picked up a shell.
I practiced the slow steps I knew would come
later, after they opened your heart. 


Kresge Artist Fellows for 2013

Kresge Artist Fellows for 2013

The Kresge Artist Fellows: First row: Cary Loren, Terry Blackhawk, Oren Goldenberg and Kate Daughdrill. Second row: Carl Wilson, Coco Bruner, Chace (Mic Write) Morris, Dunya Mikhail, Adrienne Maree, Marie T. Hermann and Jon Brumit. Third row: Arthur R. LaBrew, Carolyn Walker, Bryant Tillman, Michael Zadoorian, Jason Carter and Charlie O'Geen. Not shown: Andrea + Gary Urbiel Goldner. / Marvin Shaouni


Check out Terry's blogs for the Huffington Post! Terry Blackhawk



A Night of Poetry flyer.jpg



Poems of great stylistic and emotional range that journey widely through love’s losses and connections.

In The Light Between, award-winning poet Terry Blackhawk probes beyond and through the painful dissolution of a long marriage to examine the complexities of love with bravery and delicacy. Mythical themes, elements of the natural world, and masculine/feminine polarities resonate throughout Blackhawk’s poems as she explores loss, the nature of relationships, and the integrity of the individual soul. Ultimately, The Light Between celebrates our connectedness to one another, to the planet, and to the natural world.  





Early in The Light Between the poet writes in the voice of an abandoned Medea berating the errant Jason--”I have no language/to replace what I have lost.” The courage and success of this book is its rediscovery of that necessary language. As the poet travels the country or moves through the streets of Detroit, she finds solace in the trees, birds, and people around her, until the “half a song” heard alone on a New Year’s Eve is absorbed by a celebratory and “brightening silence.” It is the measure of Terry Blackhawk’s skill that she carries us with her and convinces us of the importance of the journey. Keith Taylor






The Great Lakes: Love Song and Lament

 An MQR Conference

Friday, November 4th 2011

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

434 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free and Open to the Public

Coffee and snacks
9:30 AM

Welcome and Introductions
10:00 – 11:30 AM

Jonathan Freedman, Editor, Michigan Quarterly Review
Keith Taylor

Keynote Address
Jerry Dennis


Alison Swan
Paul Webb

Questions to the group

Scholars around and on the Lakes
1:30 – 3:00 PM

Introductions and response by Jonathan Freedman

John Knott
Philip Deloria

Readings from the Lakes
3:30 – 5:00 PM

Introductions by Keith Taylor

Margaret Noori
Terry Blackhawk
Steve Amick

Sponsored by the Cook Family Foundation

Photo by Curtis Miller


Terry Blackhawk to Speak at National Convention

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased to announce that Terry Blackhawk will be speaking at the 2011 NCTE Annual Convention.

Blackhawk, of InsideOut Literary Arts Project, Detroit, Michigan, will be presenting during the panel session, "EMILY'S VOICES." An excerpt from the description of this session in the Convention Program reads:

With biographies, novels, a poetry anthology, operas, and works of art all inspired by her life and work, the fascination with Emily Dickinson continues unabated into the 21st Century. Reporting on Detroit’s 2010-2011 Big Read organized by InsideOut Literary Arts Project, panelists will discuss how urban youth share in this fascination and artistic engagement.

The session will be held from 2:45 PM to 4:00 PM on Saturday, November 19, 2011.

Each year, the NCTE Annual Convention draws thousands of K-12 teachers, college faculty, administrators, and other educational professionals from around the world. They gather to hear award-winning speakers, attend idea-packed sessions, share best practices, participate in workshops, and test the latest teaching materials. The 2011 NCTE Annual Convention will be held November 17-22, in Chicago, Illinois.

For more information, or to register for the Convention, visit