Detroit Catholic Central's Fifth Annual Poetry Night was a true celebration of creativity, bringing together students, faculty, and the wider community to appreciate the power of poetry. The event began with a reading of “Goldleaf” by Mike Merucci ’20, who recently won the Annie Balocating Undergraduate Prize for Poetry from Michigan State University. Although Merucci was unable to attend the event, his poem was read by Andrew Schenk ’24, this year's Poetry Out Loud champion. The capstone of the evening was a reading by acclaimed poet Amorak Huey, who captivated the audience with his powerful and evocative work.
Amorak Huey is an award-winning poet and professor of writing at Grand Valley State University. Huey is author of four poetry collections: Dad Jokes from Late in the Patriarchy (Sundress Publications, 2021); Boom Box (Sundress Publications, 2019); Seducing the Asparagus Queen (Cloudbank Books, 2018), winner of the Vern Rutsala Poetry Prize; and Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress Publications, 2015), as well as as two poetry chapbooks: The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2014) and A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly Press, 2016).
English and Creative Writing teacher Kevin Griffin ’96 was thrilled to have Huey come to Catholic Central and share his work with the school community. "It's such a gift to have a poet of Amorak's caliber come and share his work with us," Griffin said. "Poetry is such an important art form, and it's a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn from someone who is so skilled at it."
During his reading, Huey recited several of his most beloved poems, including "We Were All Odysseus in Those Days.” Each piece enraptured the audience of over 100 guests, who were moved by Huey's deft use of language, storytelling, experiences as a father, and deep connection to the complex power of naming.
Huey ended the evening with a Q & A, where he shared advice with students, especially how to be persistent with their own writing in the face of rejection. The event was a huge success, and a testament to the enduring power of poetry to bring us together, to inspire us, and to help us make sense of the world around us.