MIDLAND – “I hate poetry!” Grace Carras will say you just don’t understand poetry. An award-winning spoken word poet from Midland, Michigan, Carras will be leading free workshops at Midland Center for the Arts to bring a better understanding of the art and to unlock the poet in everyone.
“Poetry doesn’t have to be cryptic or archaic. You don’t need to tie it down and torture it. Poetry can be very relatable. When you explore that, you find it’s entertaining, fun, even funny,” Carras explains. The Center workshops will walk participants through creating, editing, polishing and performing their own original works in a format designed for anyone at any stage of their artistic discovery.
Poetry has as many facets and genres as music. Rappers, for example, are modern-day beat poets, she points out. Her forte, though, is spoken word poetry, described as the place where poetry and theatre meet. While all spoken word is poetry, not all poetry is spoken word. The difference comes in the writing, how the words sound in the air more than how they look on the page, according to Carras.
The workshops are from 7-8:30 p.m. at Midland Center for the Arts, are designed to be beginner-friendly, help build confidence, and develop skills. Participants will have an opportunity to perform their finished works at the open mic event scheduled for Sept. 19 which will feature Lansing Poet Laureate Emeritus Dennis Hinrichsen. The public is invited to the open mic to be held in the Saints and Sinners Lounge at The Center with a cash bar and appetizers available for sale. Anyone is welcome to register that evening to perform. Doors open at 7:45 p.m.
Sept. 4: A round table to compliment, comment, and critiquing each other’s work. This editing session is a great opportunity to explore the often nerve-wracking, yet helpful, process of receiving feedback.
Sept. 11: Learn to read a poem out loud or tighten up your performance skills. Observe performances, offer critiques and practice the art of delivery in this collaborative performance workshop.
Workshops are free but space is limited. Advance registration is recommended and available online for one or all dates at www.midlandcenter.org.
Grace Carras, a 2019 graduate of Michigan State University with two BAs in Arts and Humanities and English, is co-founder of The Poetry Room reading series in Lansing. She was a semifinalist in the 2018 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, winner of the 2019 Mark Ritzenheim Emerging Poet Award, and her poem “for the poets who gather here” was selected as a winner in the 2018 Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Competition. She writes about love, her favorite people and stories, and the parts of herself she sometimes struggles to understand. Her first book of poetry, “Quiet Kid,” is slated for release in 2020.