In downtown Detroit on Sunday, high school seniors found ways to honor two seemingly disparate art forms at once: poetry and Detroit techno music.
The event, called “Techno Poetics,” was the culmination of a year-long effort to teach students about the city’s history as the birthplace of a genre, and to celebrate that history through creative expression, said Nandi Comer, the lead poet of the effort which is part of the Detroit-based InsideOut Literary Arts Project, which produces classroom workshops for students. The project was funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
“Anytime I would go anywhere people kept calling Detroit ‘Motown,’” Comer said. “We’ve had all these other musical legacies that we’ve given to the world, and we don’t recognize it.”
Over the course of a year, Comer worked with local DJs to lead more than 150 Detroit high school students on a “deep dive” through the city’s rich history as the birthplace of techno music, said Nichole Christian, a spokeswoman for InsideOut. Some students also toured Submerge, a record label on East Grand Boulevard with an electronic music museum inside, and toured the Motown Museum on West Grand Boulevard as well.