Poetry has not exactly always been at the heart of American consciousness. It’s often thought of as an art form for lonely, depressed individuals or pretentious hipsters in East Village coffee shops. However, Azizi Jasper (or simply, “Z” to most who know him), is a Grand Rapids-based poet, activist and man about town.
If you ever listened to Duran Duran’s latest hit on your boom box, inquired about the whereabouts of “the beef” or watched anything on Betamax, chances are you’ll dig this event. Stella’s Lounge is hosting an all-day Grand Rapids bar crawl in which teams race to complete 10 challenges, record the evidence on their smartphones and compete to become Grand Mega Champions (complete with a totally tubular trophy).
Ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek wasn't always the mile-conquering fitness expert he is now. In fact, the winner of ultraRunning's top honors and advocate for veganism used to be a hunting, fishing Minnesotan carnivore, who hated running.
"[Running] was kind of like punishment; we would have to run laps in gym class and at soccer and basketball practice," Jurek said. "While I was involved with Nordic skiing in high school, I ran because I wanted to get in shape for ski season, but it wasn't something I enjoyed."
With his newest collection of poetry, When All the World Is Old, Detroit-born poet John Rybicki comes close enough that poet Marie Howe compares him to a modern-day Orpheus "singing [his] way into the underworld and coming out alive."
It's one of the first things creative writers learn: in order to tell a story effectively, one must anchor the story in a particular setting or place. Northern Michigan-based writer Jack Driscoll, who has written four novels and four books of poetry, and who just released his second collection of short stories.
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