While there have been countless books written about Detroit, none have captured its incredible musical history like this one. This collection of poems and lyrics covers numerous genres including jazz, blues, doo-wop, Motown, classic rock, punk, hip-hop, and techno. Detroit artists have forged the paths in many of these genres, producing waves of creative energy that continue to reverberate across the country and around the world. While documenting and celebrating this part of Detroit’s history, this book captures the emotions that the music inspired in its creators and in its listeners. The range of contributors speaks to the global impact of Detroit’s music scene—Grammy winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and poet laureates all come together in this rich and varied anthology, including such icons as Eminem, June Jordan, Fred “Sonic” Smith, Rita Dove, Jack White, Robbie Robertson, Paul Simon, Nikki Giovanni, Philip Levine, Sasha Frere-Jones, Patricia Smith, Billy Bragg, Andrei Codrescu, Toi Derricotte, and Cornelius Eady.
About the Author
Jim Daniels is the author of six fiction collections, seventeen poetry collections, and four produced screenplays, and has edited five anthologies, including Challenges to the Dream: The Best of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards. Honors and awards he has received include the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing, the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award, and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. A native of Detroit, Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
M. L. Liebler is the author of fifteen books and has been on faculty in the English department at Wayne State University since 1980. He is an internationally known and widely published Detroit poet, university professor, literary arts activist, and arts organizer. He received the 2017–2018 Murray E. Jackson Scholar in the Arts Award at Wayne State University, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award in 2010, and the 2018 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. He is currently the President of the Detroit Writers’ Guild.
"An incredible book. Comprehensive. Panoramic. And makes a case for Detroit being the greatest music city in the United States."
—Steve Wynn, singer, songwriter, and guitarist for The Dream Syndicate
"So many lines and stanzas emblematic of Detroit’s poetry and music resonate in R E S P E C T, edited by Jim Daniels and M. L. Liebler, and Kim D. Hunter’s homage to the late Faruq Z. Bey personifies the collection. His horn, Hunter writes, 'was just another / way to breathe.' And this is a breathless assemblage of the city’s most gifted voices."
—Herb Boyd, Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination
"This stirring collection of poetry captures decades of Detroit’s genre-spanning music legacy, from jazz to R&B to techno. Each stanza’s beats, rhythms, and grooves evoke the sounds of the city’s clubs, streets, and scenes with passion and pleasure. The inspiring selection of voices reveal the mystery of The D’s musical spirit, and Daniels and Liebler deliver a significant contribution to its lyrical arts."
—Roberta Cruger, former CREEM magazine staff writer/editor (1970–1974)
"It’s the history of music in Detroit. Certainly goes back, at least touches into, the early 20th century with some blues. . . . In this book, you’ve got lyrics by some of the great songwriters: Fats Dominos, Billy Bragg, Robbie Robertson, Gordon Lightfoot, Jack White, Eminem, and a bunch of others. Then there’s some poems of the great dead poets of Detroit: Robert Hayden, Philip Levine. Then there are poets of great national reputations who are either from Detroit or came through here and spent time here: Nikki Giovanni, Toi Derricotte, Edward Hirsch. And then there’s a bunch of the rest of us who just sort of hang out here, including me."
— Michigan Radio NPR
"Both Liebler and Daniels have what can only be called musical rolodexes (an old-fashioned way of keeping contact information) that are a mile deep and a country wide. As an example, there aren’t many books that can boast work from the poets Phillip Levine, June Jordan, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni or Melba Joyce Boyd."
— Bill Castanier