John Rodriguez | AADL Black Lives Matter Muralist

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

John Rodriguez | AADL BLM mural

John Rodriguez (b. 1977)
Blessing

jrvag.com
Instagram: @bruinprophet
Facebook: @jrartsite

Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL installed a Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane on Friday, May 21 featuring the works of eight artists.

Below is our interview with muralist John Rodriguez.

Demario Dotson | AADL Black Lives Matter Muralist

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Demario Dotson | AADL BLM mural

Demario Dotson (b. 1994)
Sandra Blands With Capes (Protecting the Black Youth From the Police)
sbwithcapes.com
Instagram: @DemarioDotson 

Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL installed a Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane on Friday, May 21 featuring the works of eight artists.

Below is our interview with muralist Demario Dotson.

Quadre Curry | AADL Black Lives Matter Muralist

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Quadre Curry | AADL BLM mural

Quadre Curry (b. 1997)
quadrecurry.com
Instagram: @reddq.art

Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL installed a Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane on Friday, May 21 featuring the works of eight artists.

Below is our interview with muralist Quadre Curry.

T'onna Clemons | AADL Black Lives Matter Muralist

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

T'onna Clemons | AADL BLM mural

T'onna Clemons (b. 1987)
tonnaclemons.com
Instagram: @comicbookartist

Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL installed a Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane on Friday, May 21 featuring the works of eight artists.

Below is our interview with muralist T'onna Clemons.

U-M Librarian and AADL Board Member Jamie Vander Broek discusses libraries and "Radical Humility"

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Jamie Vander Broek and her book Radical Humility

Jamie Vander Broek photo by Austin Thomason/University of Michigan Photography

How do libraries and the quality of humility go together?

Really well, it turns out.

Jamie Vander Broek unveils this connection in her essay, “A Library Is for You” in Radical Humility, a recent book she co-edited with Rebekah Modrak, a professor in the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan.

The Librarian for Art and Design at the University of Michigan Library, Vander Broek outlines how the permission to read whatever you’d like contributes to the humble nature of libraries. In contrast to museums, the people are primary: 

Libraries, instead, devote relatively little real estate and resources toward interpreting their collections, instead foregrounding the individual’s experience with the materials. Another person’s ego doesn’t stand in the way of your access to, at our library, a letter handwritten by Galileo and the first cookbook published by an African American. That’s how important you are to us.

Libraries, Vander Broek observes, don’t impose themselves on one’s intellectual adventure or entertainment but rather offer their collections up to people who want to interact with them. There are many ways Vander Broek illustrates this humility, such as noting, “We think of libraries as being about books or even literacy. But they’re really about sharing. They’re about recognizing the value of saving, sharing, and access to society.”

Sharing is caring, many of us have learned from a young age. 

Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle Marks National Poetry Month with a Reading and Open Mic

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Crazy Wisdom + National Poetry Month

Poets in the poster, left to right: David Jibson, Shutta Crum, Lissa Perrin, Edward Morin, Gregory Mahr, Dana Dever, Joseph Kelty.

April marks the 25th year of National Poetry Month and Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle will mark the tradition during their monthly reading on April 28 at 7 pm via Zoom (email cwpoetrycircle@gmail.com for the Zoom link).

Poets Shutta Crum, Dana Dever, David Jibson, Joseph Kelty, Loraine Lamey, Gregory Mahr, Edward Morin, and Lissa Perrin will read. An open mic will follow and participants may read their own poem or a favorite poem by another poet. 

The Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle has become a home for writers in the greater Ann Arbor area and has been meeting at the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room for about 10 years. The Poetry Circle offers workshops on the second Wednesday of the month and readings on the fourth Wednesday of most months. Currently, several poets, including Jibson, Morin, and Perrin, co-host the group. 

Morin is the author of a recent poetry collection, The Bold News of Birdcalls, and gains inspiration from the monthly readings.

Beyond the Birds: Ann Arbor Poet Ed Morin’s "The Bold News of Birdcalls" explores nature, relationships, and work

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Ed Morin and his book The Bold News of Birdcalls

The Bold News of Birdcalls by Ed Morin is not just about birds. Stories about people, relationships, work, and news occupy his poems. In “Moments Musicaux,” with a dedication to “my sister Audrey,” we read about her birth, marriages, and children. We learn that “Her last words to me were, ‘You’ll look younger if you get your hair cut more often.’ ” Morin sees both the gravity and the humor in his subjects. 

Morin’s poems that do focus on nature or birds are not without the poet’s opinion. The poem “Icicles” says, “February is a sallow miser who hoards / what little daylight is left in the world.” Yet the collection is also not without appreciation for the natural world. We see how industrious birds can be, as “Housing for Wrens” offers the lines “along comes the plain-brown-wrappered wren, focused as a meter reader, from yard / to yard appraising birdhouses for nesting.” This poet not only observes the wren but also admits in another poem that: 

Julie Babcock's poetry book "Rules for Rearrangement" considers how to carry on after a sudden loss

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Poet Julie Babcock and her book Rules of Engagement

University of Michigan lecturer Julie Babcock’s recent poetry collection, Rules for Rearrangement, offers a journey to discover what those rules are. The book charts a thorough and far-reaching path through memories and ways to persist when someone has disappeared from one’s life. 

The Ann Arbor poet writes, “Everyone is filled with a heavy combination / of blockage and sun.” The obstruction and brightness feel relatable. People have their burdens and their joys. 

How might someone go about rearranging both what weighs them down and what buoys them? A stanza in a section called “Arson” asks for the following: 

Introduce your new self and explain your need. For instance: I need rules for
           rearrangement. For instance: I need to box memories. I need to let my 
           objects know it’s not them.

For Babcock, it can be a matter of space and objects. That same poem goes on to discuss how “Empty space you uncover will be awkward and shy.” Yet, “Former free space you cover will be angry.” This negotiation illuminates the effort it takes to design spaces, things, and even life differently than what they were before. The poet both rails against and is curious about the things around them and what happens to them. 

At the end of the collection when “He returns from the dead so they can discuss Bob Dylan who won the Nobel / prize for literature,” it becomes clear that the rules may be malleable and dependent on how someone approaches them because "'My love,' he says, 'nothing is every one thing.'" Allowing for this multiplicity offers permission for whatever way a person moves forward in the wake of a traumatic event. 

I interviewed Babcock about her new book, writing, and novel in the works.  

Ann Arbor's Quite Scientific label looks back at its beginnings and readies a relaunch

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Quite Scientific logo and album cover collage

The Quite Scientific record label began out of failure.

In 2005, Justin Spindler and brothers Brian and Jeremy Peters had the idea to shed more light on their local Lansing music scene. Justin and Brian gathered songs for a compilation album that they’d release under a yet-to-be-determined name, and in the process, they met members of the band Canada.

Canada had self-released the How Dare You EP and had the song "Hexenhaus" on another compilation, which is what caught the ear of Justin and Brian. They were so impressed with that tune they struck a deal with the band to release a full album.

The compilation record never came together, but Canada's debut album did.

Brian Peters recorded, engineered, and mixed what became This Cursed House in his bedroom/living room in Lansing during the fall and winter of 2005 using a soundboard used to mix portions of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

“I bought it from a studio in Kentucky,” says Brian. “It was used by a studio that Industrial Light & Magic outsourced work to. It made for a good thing to catch people’s attention in the press release.”

Ann Arbor poet David Jibson on Crazy Wisdom's Poetry Circle, "3rd Wednesday Magazine," and his new book, "Protective Coloration"

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Book cover for David Jibson's Protective Coloration

 

It’s well-known that the life of a poet often means being attentive to the world around oneself, seeing parallels between things or living beings and their thoughts, actions, ideas, and values. David Jibson, co-host of the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle, uncovers these connections throughout the poems in his latest book, Protective Coloration

The collection’s title is made clear by the poem of the same name, in which a restaurant scene unfolds "with the poet of a certain age, hidden in a corner booth / at the back of the cafe, as quiet as any snowshoe hare, / as still as a heron among the reeds.” There, we see the poet blending in while also taking in the view. Jibson welcomes the reader to join him in seeing striking insights through straightforward language, like the person in “Amy’s Diner” who, while studying the group of men in baseball caps eating the senior special, gets the invitation to “Pull up a chair.”

As people in another poem speculate while preparing and waiting for the arrival of guests, they are “as ready as we’ll ever be, / realizing, now, how much time has passed / since we last dusted in the corners of our lives.” The poems encourage readers to wonder at such things in their own lives.