Midland native and spoken word poet returns to lead poetry workshops

For a self-described shy kid from Midland, Grace Carras found her voice in poetry.

After several years away, running poetry nights in Lansing while earning a degree from Michigan State University, the award-winning spoken word poet Carras, has returned to her hometown. She’s since been invited to run a series of poetry workshops, culminating with an open mic night, at the Midland Center for the Arts.

The workshops, held for three consecutive Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m., are free and open to the public. Space is limited and advanced registration is available online.

The workshops begin on Aug. 28, with an introduction to the List Poem and its form. On Sep. 4, a roundtable is scheduled where participants compliment, comment and critique each other’s work. On September 11, poets will begin to practice performing their works out loud for an audience at the Center.

The final open mic event is scheduled for Thursday, Sep. 19, at the Saints and Sinners Lounge at Midland Center for the Arts. Lansing Poet Laureate Emeritus Dennis Hinrichsen is the featured guest.

While not limited to beginners, the workshops are geared toward them.

"I can’t expect to tell people to not be nervous because that never works! Just know that feeling nervous at first is valid, however I hope that the second they walk into the workshop that they feel comfortable," Carras says.

"If nothing else, come to see the faces of the other poets in your community and we’ll have a good time."

Carras grew up an avid reader, and especially of fantasy novels. She began writing poetry in the vein of Edgar Allan Poe when, as a fifteen year old, Carras experienced spoken word poetry for the first time. After that it was, in her words, over.

She draws inspiration from the spoken word poets she admires, as well as those from her poetry community back in Lansing.

Grace Carras reading one of her pieces of work.

for the poets who gather here

                (with thanks to The Poetry Room and The Robin Theatre)


this is for you,
who overcome the trembling
dance of your own pulse
to blossom in the stage light.
you, who dig your roots in deep
and sprout from rock bottom.
go forth and devour, you
conquerors of concrete,
who put the we in weeds,
you brilliant bouquets of breath;
i’ve seen you carry explosions
in your mouths.
you hungry poets,
i’m in love
with the shrapnel of your bravery,
with the way you become the light
that you need to grow.

~ Grace Carras

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