Terry Blackhawk

Terry-Blackhawk_1 ABOUT THE ARTIST

Terry Blackhawk is the author of several collections of poetry including The Light Between (Wayne State University Press, 2012) and Escape Artist (BkMk Press, 2003), which received the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. Her most recent work is included in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Collagist, Verse Daily, Poetry Daily and Nimrod International Journal, which awarded her the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. In 1995, while teaching creative writing for Detroit Public Schools, she founded InsideOut Literary Arts Project, a nonprofit writers-in-schools program. InsideOut serves more than 5,000 children and youth in classrooms and communities throughout Detroit and has twice been honored by the White House.

To see more work by Terry Blackhawk, visit www.terrymblackhawk.com.

Top Right Photo Credit: Elayne Gross Photography

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[Reservations required. Click here to make a reservation for the first show and click here to make a reservation for the second show.]

Protea Currency presents a poetic variety show connected by and through themes of water, shorelines, and identity. A core sequence of the poems features a mythical persona named Protea. The poems will be interpreted through a combination of music, film and spoken word.  A film by Nancy Rodwan of Rodwan Productions, Inc., based on “Overheard among the Arthropods” will introduce the revue.  Lisa Raschiattore (clarinet), Mariah Mlynarek (piano), Dennis Darnell Carter, II (flute), and Carol Ambrogio (soprano) will perform Marilyn Perkins Biery’s compositions setting “ice music,” “Provincetown, August,” and “Protea in Venice” to music.  These will be interspersed by readings by 2013 Kresge Artist Fellow Terry Blackhawk and by spoken performances by Leslie Reese, who will present “The Exctinct Freshwater Mussels of the Detroit River” and “Ossawa Night.” Blackhawk and Reese are long time collaborators.  Blackhawk’s poem “Ossawa Night” was published in Dispatch Detroit Vol. 5, 2002, alongside selection of poems from Reese’s second volume of poetry Urban Junkstar, and Reese was one of the first poets who found employment with Blackhawk’s InsideOut Literary Arts Project.  Oren Goldenberg will prepare a video background that will be projected during the presentation of the poems and the music.  Scott Boberg will introduce and interview the poet at the end of the show, in addition to reading the spoken portion of one of the musical compositions.


I ‘found’ the persona of Protea during a writing retreat in Provincetown two years ago and have written towards her, somewhat consciously, during my year as a KAID Literary Fellow.  I was searching for a name for a character, and Protea occurred to me before I knew exactly what it meant. I suspected Greek origins, and sure enough, a quick Google search let me know that Proteus was a Greek god of the sea who was capable of changing form at will.  In some versions he is Poseidon’s son, but the root “proto,” meaning first, could mean that he predates the usual Pantheon.  He could tell the future, if one could pin him down, but his shape-shifting abilities made this difficult.  In any case, shape-shifting helped to pull these poems together, i.e., with the impulse to shift the creative impulse from male to female.

In keeping with Proteus, these poems are all conceived in proximity to bodies of water. The passage of time and passages of self are wrought up in them, and, in a kind of watery way, I heard, or overheard, echoes of two earlier poems that had not found a home in any of my previous collections.  These are “Overheard among the Arthropods” and “Ossawa Night.”   An exhibit of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s work at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the late 1990s and a pool of fish inspired the latter, and its lines “If you could build a structure for the evening air” and “what if you never act upon the faceless future” kept recurring as I was writing the Protea poems. I hear the same voice in my most recent poem, “Protea Walks the River.” Themes of shells, shifting and changing physical features, and an oppressive scrutiny by an analytic, scientific observer feature in “Overheard among the Arthropods,” a somewhat batty conversation among crabs and other seaside creatures including a beached jellyfish discusses its “shifting shape.” The title references “Overheard on a Saltmarsh” by Harold Monro, one of my favorite poems from childhood that features a nymph and a goblin.  I like to think the protean, preconscious nature of childhood weaves throughout these poems.  Although the images in all of these poems can be traced back to actual experiences, only two of the poems feature a narrative impulse.  One is “The Extinct Freshwater Mussels of the Detroit River,” which commemorates a friend lost to suicide. The vulnerability of the hermit crabs, with their claws extending forward from the beach into the next poem with its extinct mussels, is both comical to me and very sad. “Mything You, for Blair” memorializes our city’s beloved poet/troubadour/activist, picks up the theme of myth and ends with a nod to the Detroit River as the boundary between freedom and slavery as well as life and death.


Carol Ambrogio-Wood, soprano, performs regularly in recital, oratorio and in opera. She has performed professionally as a soloist and as an ensemble member with groups in Detroit, New York and Chicago, as well as in Europe. Ms. Ambrogio-Wood was heard as a professional chorus member of the Verbier Symphony Chorus, conducted by Maestro James Levine of the Metropolitan Opera. In 2014, Ms. Ambrogio-Wood collaborated on recording new works (also composed by Marilyn Biery) with the Detroit School of Arts Animated Shakespeare project, which won numerous prestigious international awards and was produced by her husband, John Wood. Ms. Ambrogio-Wood teaches private voice lessons and is the section leader and soloist at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church. She is also a Chorus member at the Michigan Opera Theatre in the upcoming production of Faust. Carol holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Wayne State University and Master of Music, Vocal Performance from Oakland University.

Marilyn Perkins Biery is an organist, conductor, composer and hymn writer, serving as Minister of Music at St. Ambrose Church in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, and on the music faculty at Wayne State University.  From 1996-2010 she was Associate Director of Music at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, sharing the position with her husband, James Biery.  Since moving to Michigan in 2010 she has served as interim Minister of Music at Royal Oak First United Methodist Church and Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Detroit. Marilyn holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ performance from Northwestern University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the University of Minnesota. An ASCAP award winner, her hymn texts, choral and organ compositions are published by GIA, MorningStar, Augsburg Fortress, OCP and Concordia.  Her hymnary, Seek a Place of Breathless Beauty was published by MorningStar in 2011, containing twenty-five original hymn texts, set to existing tunes as well as seven original tunes by James Biery.  Her latest collection of organ music, Gathered into One, was recently released by Augsburg; several other texts, anthems, and a collection of organ preludes are soon to be released by GIA Publications.  A commission from Dr. Andrew Kreckmann for Wayne State University’s Concert Chorale is scheduled to be premiered at Wayne State this spring.

Dennis Carter is a busy freelancer in the Detroit area, serving as Principal Flutist for the Michigan Philharmonic and the Dearborn Symphony, and as an additional musician with the Michigan Opera Theater, the Flint Symphony, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He is a well known soloist in the area, performing concerti with the Michigan Philharmonic, the Dearborn Symphony, and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra. Active in theater orchestras, he serves as the Principal Flutist for the Fisher Theater Orchestra and the Bijou Orchestra, and has toured the United States with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, the New Sigmund Romberg Orchestra, and the Carl Rosa Opera Company (UK). He also is apart of the Sphinx Organization, serving as an assistant in their Overture Strings Program and as Principal of the Sphinx Orchestra, which recently was on tour at the Napa Valley Music Festival in California. He taught for many years as an assistant music teacher in the Southfield Public School System, taught at Henry Ford Community College, and currently has a studio of private students. He holds a B.M. in Music Performance from Wayne State University, and his teachers were Ervin Monroe and Clement Barone.

Nancy J. Rodwan is an award-winning filmmaker, visual artist and writer. She has directed, shot, animated and edited several short films and a feature length documentary. She studied film at New York University. She has lived in Geneva, Switzerland, Brooklyn, NY, Portland, Oregon, and has recently returned home to Detroit, Michigan. Her publishing credits include Work Literary Magazine, Upstreet Magazine, Greenprints and San Pedro River Review.

Clarinetist Lisa Raschiatore serves as Principal Clarinetist with the Michigan Philharmonic and the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, Bass Clarinetist with the West Michigan and Traverse Symphony Orchestras, and as an additional musician with the Grand Rapids and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. She regularly performs contemporary music in chamber music settings, most recently with Amphion Percussion, Wind and Song, and with Joe Deller on violin. She has appeared with singer Shara Worden and her band My Brightest Diamond at many music festivals, most notably with the ensemble yMusic at the Lincoln Center “Out of Doors” Festival in NYC. She has been a member of new music ensembles Warped Consort and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and has commissioned works from composers David T. Little, Evan Chambers, Andre Myers, and Kirsten Volness. She received her doctorate at the University of Michigan and has taught at Central Michigan University, Alma College, and Adrian College. She currently teaches clarinet and chamber music courses at Madonna University, and maintains a private clarinet studio. For more information, please visit: www.lisaraschiatore.com.

Currently active as a collaborative pianist, chamber musician, and soloist, Mariah Boucher frequently performs in recitals featuring singers and instrumentalists, and has been a featured soloist with orchestras performing the concerti of Mendelssohn and Ravel. Passionate about the revitalization of the arts in Detroit, she has joined with chamber partners Dennis Carter (fl) and Lisa Raschiatore (cl) and Jennifer Goltz (voice) to perform at the art space Trinosophes. She has worked closely with composers Michael Daugherty, Gabriela Lena Frank and Evan Chambers premiering and exploring new music. As an opera enthusiast, Mariah has performed and coached Puccini’s La Boheme, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, working with conductors Martin Katz and Mark Gibson.   She also has joined in numerous outreach programs to bring opera to elementary schools throughout the Detroit area. Studying with Martin Katz, Logan Skelton and Katherine Collier, Mariah completed her M.M. and D.M.A. at the University of Michigan in Collaborative Piano. Mariah currently serves as the Visiting Professor of Collaborative Piano at Indiana University, South Bend.

Native Detroiter Leslie Reese is an interdisciplinary artist and educator with experience working in schools, libraries, and museums and an interest in developing dynamic community relationships through storytelling. She facilitated Literacy Chicago’s Reading Against the Odds; has worked for The Art Institute of Chicago, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and was writer-in-residence with InsideOut Literary Arts Project from 1995-2005. Ms. Reese published her first book of poems Upside Down Tapestry Mosaic History with Broadside Press in 1987 and captured more of Detroit’s essential nature in her Urban Junkstar, published by Past Tents Press in 2004. Of Urban Junkstar, WSU Professor Melba Joyce Boyd writes that Reese’s work is “attuned to the sounds and silences in the rural landscape and to the intensity and sophistication of urbanity.” Leslie Reese holds a BA in English from Alabama A&M University and a MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College, Chicago. She blogs at http://folkloreandliteracy.com.

Oren Goldenberg is a 2014 Kresge Artist Fellow. He is a video artist living and working in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. He uses video to explore the dismantlement of the public sector, subvert the assumed and create catharsis. Goldenberg critiques society through dance, documentary and satire while creating new rituals for transformation. An honors graduate from the University of Michigan, he has created films and videos for 15 years. His work has been seen in festivals, theatres, museums, derelict street corners and the World Wide Web.


WSU Press

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