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Poet.  Author.  Event Producer.  Detroiter.

I am one with, a son of, Detroit. My beloved home. Once I turned 18 years old, the city and its culture became my obsession. The goal was to attend every open mic, Hip Hop concert, whatever cool event. Walking to The Hip Hop Shop on Saturdays. Catching the Dexter bus from the WestSide to downtown to host at Cafe Mahogany on Tuesdays. I was the cool, open soul that would sit on the pyramid at Hart Plaza with a notebook and pen. Still that same person. The son of a Jazz Pianist. I am an instrument of bronze flesh. Syllables be notes. Drum, trumpet, piano. I want you to hear Jazz, Hip Hop, African drums. I write in the spirit of Paul Laurence Dunbar. My most prized possession is a first edition copy of his book, Candle-Lightin' Time. First released in 1901. Classic. I would say Dunbar is my biggest influence as far as poets go. I love how he mastered writing in dialect and classic poetry styles. He wasn’t afraid to write like his neighbors talked. To tell their stories.

A huge part of my work is speaking for the people I grew up with. I think there is nothing more beautiful.

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Joel Fluent Greene is a Detroit based poet, author and event producer. A Spirit of Detroit Award winner, Joel was the long running host of Detroit’s iconic Cafe' Mahogany poetry nights, and has shared the stage with acts as diverse as The Roots, Pharrell Williams, The Last Poets, Big Sean, Saul Williams, and The Detroit Red Wings. He has also performed/hosted for Chrysler Corporation, Quicken Loans, United Way, 100 Black Men of America, Inside-Out Detroit, Partnership for a Drug Free America, and Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts. As former director of Music Hall Center’s Words and Rhythms of the D outreach program, he has held workshops and performances in over 50 schools in the Metro Detroit area. Author of four collections of poetry: WAXING/waning, Poems of Bungalow & Concrete, Somewhere in the Middle/ Love Poems, & Felt. A Collection of Personal Favorites, Joel is currently a creative writing instructor at Mariner’s Inn, a shelter and treatment center located in Detroit. 

His 5th book, THE DETROIT POEMS, will be released to the public Friday, April 30, 2021.

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Our somber home

Of brick and stone

Where the cranes stand eerily still-

The cost to build

The new pyramids

Was way too high a bill-

A metronome 

Of come and go 

Some headed for the Hills-

But I’ll stay home

And call her so

I’m in this through the ills-

Our heavy tome

Of brand new ghosts

Who was only a little sick-

Communal folk

Bringing stew to granny 

Easter baskets for your kids-

Who am I to lament?

By address, citizen 

My love makes me legit 

Calling Detroit home 

From this petrified dome

Where the world stands eerily still. 


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Get in touch to discover more writings by Joel Fluent Greene and follow his work.

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