Detroit poets seek to saturate the world in verse, host open mic night

Sheezy Bo Beezy is a lot of things. Among them, he is the co-founder of the Detroit Poetry Society, but his artistry extends far beyond the written word.
“I'm a musician first,” he says. “Before I was anything, I was a musician. But, I’m a dancer, I’m a community builder, I am a link to the culture in the city. I’m an expresser and a motivator. I am a teacher and I’m a beat boxer.”

His life in Detroit has always been steeped in art, but when he first heard spoken word poetry, it changed him forever. Since then, he says he has dedicated himself to creating poetry that soaks up every aspect of the world around him.

“The culture of poetry is like the culture of everything,” Sheezy says. “I've seen poetry in tattoo shops, I’ve seen poetry in bars, in schools, in the middle of the street, in houses, in basements, and in foggy dingy corners. I’ve seen poetry everywhere.”

His passion for putting saturating the world in poetry has pushed him to make it accessible for everyone. Initially, he envisioned a hub where the poetry community could discover daily open mics online, participate in workshops, and forge collaborations. So, a mere three years ago, he founded Detroit Poetry Society with Gabrielle Knox.

“Gabby started hosting workshops in her living room and from there we moved venues, having super prolific super successful poets come and teach workshops to the people for free,” Sheezy says.

The partnership has continued to prove fruitful, as Sheezy and Knox have worked to bring more Detroiters into the fold. This Saturday Detroit poet Chani the Hippie will host her first open mic as the second part of a series she coined Peace Love and Poetry and Sheezy is set to perform at the event.

Chani says she started the series in hopes of attracting people from all walks of life, giving them a chance to open up and listen to one another.

“I wanted to make this a time or self-expression because were living in some times that have everybody confused or angry or passionate so I think it’s important to encourage self-expression,” Chani tells MT.

The open mic portion of the series is meant to encourage people who are new to poetry to share their stories and their words.

“I decided to make this one an open mic because there were so many people who were at the last event, who don’t write at all who said that they were inspired, and went home and wrote,” Chani says.

From 7 to 11 p.m., 12 people will have a chance to take the stage to do just that. Sheezy will also perform his own spoken word poetry at the event and DJ Stacye J will provide vibes.

Bringing together different poets from around the city is an important way to propagate the community. Chani and Sheezy use social media as a means to connect with longstanding artists as well as young up-and-comers.

“The Detroit poetry community is an amazing community full of different writers like Sheezy with different workshops who have such a positive impact on Detroit poetry and there are so many ‘OGs’ and so many young people coming up full of all different races and cultures and I cannot help but be inspired when surrounded by so many amazing people,” Chani says.

The Peace, Love and Poetry open mic is Saturday, June 17 at Profit Vouge Studio 17352 Lahser Rd, Detroit from 7pm to 11pm. Cover is $5 before 8 p.m, and $10 after; Free food and wine will be served.
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