Award-winning author shares her poetry at the Wick Poetry Corner

Katie Huntley

“Perhaps it’s the way your arch fits my instep, my instep curves over your arch, but we’ve kept at it these years, our limbs linking and unlinking deep in the quilting … “

Terry Blackhawk’s marriage to a Native American is reflected in her poem “The Dawn of a Navajo Woman.” Another life event, dealing with her father’s recovery from a stroke, is described throughout her books as well.

About 70 people listened as Blackhawk discussed these personal messages yesterday during her reading at the Wick Poetry Corner on the second floor of the University Library. Blackhawk presented some familiar works from her five books and some newer, unpublished work.

“I just wanted to make today as varied as possible,” Blackhawk said.

Her style, often described as quirky but intellectual, kept the audience captivated.

“I find inspiration in language itself,” Blackhawk said. “It is the act of writing and using language that is exciting to me – it is surprising!”

Blackhawk said she is open to a number of interpretations her writing may evoke.

“I want the poem to be an experience for the reader,” Blackhawk said. “And that experience can vary.”

As an award-winning poet and founder of InsideOut, a literary arts project in Detroit, Blackhawk was a perfect fit for the Wick Poetry Reading Series, said David Hassler, program and outreach director.

“We’re really excited to have Terry Blackhawk visiting Kent because of her multiple talents with writing and her outreach programs,” Hassler said. “The Wick Center feels she is a great model for us, and we really feel a kinship between her mission and ours.”

Marianne Jackson, Wick fellow, agrees with Hassler.

“(Blackhawk) is really important to our program because she has taken poetry into the schools of Detroit,” Jackson said.

Blackhawk has received many awards, including the Detroit Metro Times Progressive Hero Award for her work with InsideOut.

Contact libraries and information services reporter Katie Huntley at [email protected].