Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rock & Roll poet M.L. Liebler

M.L. Liebler, a man who makes poetry happen -- and matter -- in Detroit, is on the cover of this week's Metro Times: "At his core, Liebler's all about devotion and honesty, and the unending search for the poetry in everyday life. He has a million yarns born of experiences ... but his story is embedded in Detroit, rooted in his route to find religion. The connective tissue that ties it all together? Poetry and rock 'n' roll, which, for M.L. Liebler, are two legs attached to the same vagabond body."

Or, as M.L. himself puts it, "I see poetry as a way of life, an essential nutrient to everyday life for every person — not just for intellectuals, people who went to college or those who just read a lot. I think poetry is something that people need and can use, but they have to be exposed to it in an accessible way. Some poets don't see their mission that way, and that's fine, not all poets need to see things that way, but, for me, that's the only way to do it — get out there and bring it to the people."

When asked if the early '70s poetry scene then "puts to shame what we have today," M.L. replies, "Are you kidding? I think that's all romanticized. We were struggling to get seven people in a room back then. We just did a big poetry walk in Chelsea — different readings at different venues with a ton of different poets that concluded with me and beat legend Michael McClure back at the library. There were probably 500 people that participated. The next day we were at the Scarab Club with McClure, a Republican writer, three women from the suburbs and a lesbian from the city. People were standing, sitting, leaning, crouching, just squeezing in together."

Hey, guess who that "lesbian from the city" was? Though, in truth, I live in Ferndale. But I am really close to 8 Mile...


Laura said...

he the guy that yelled out, "D'Anne, you're killin' me!!" during your last poem? To be fair, yuor last poem was totally killer.

D'Anne Witkowski said...

Yep, that was him.