A Detroit Anthology
Edited by Anna Clark
Belt Publishing, 2014
“A Detroit Anthology is one of the surprise hits of the year. … it’s the wide ethnic array of voices that truly shows the facets of Detroit life.”
Detroit is a city of stories. In this, we are rich. We begin with abundance.
But while much is written about our city these hard days, it is typically meant to explain Detroit to those who live elsewhere. Much of this writing is brilliant, but our anthology, this anthology, is different: it is a collection of Detroit stories for Detroiters. These are the stories we tell each other over late nights at the pub and long afternoons on the porch. We share them in coffee shops, at church social hours, in living rooms, and while waiting for the bus. These are stories full of nodding asides and knowing laughs. These are stories addressed to the rhetorical “you”—with the ratcheted up language that comes with it—and these are stories that took real legwork to investigate. We may be lifelong residents, newcomers, or former Detroiters; we may be activists, workers, teachers, artists, healers, or students. But a common undercurrent alights our work that is collected here:
We are a city moving through the fire of transformation. We are afire.
Featuring essays, photographs, art, and poetry by Grace Lee Boggs, John Carlisle, Desiree Cooper, dream hampton, francine j. harris, Steve Hughes, Jamaal May, Tracie McMillan, Marsha Music, Shaka Senghor, Thomas J. Sugrue, and many others.
A 2015 Michigan Notable Book. Read an excerpt of the anthology.
See a map of the geography of the anthology.
See the full table of contents.
Click here to buy A Detroit Anthology.
“There is no cheap nostalgia or breathless boosterism. … the book is a thrilling success. It gives voice to people who now live or once lived in this fascinating, tortured place, the survivors, good people who know what pain is, people who understand that the city exerts an undying pull on them.”
“What these writers share, despite their differences of age, race, gender, and temperament, is the understanding that one has to know Detroit’s history before even beginning to imagine how the city might move forward. Rather than trying to explain Detroit, editor Anna Clark says she set out to capture “the candid conversations Detroiters have with other Detroiters.” She has succeeded spectacularly.”
The Daily Beast
“…consider getting a copy of A Detroit Anthology ($20), a powerful book of essays edited by the local writer Anna Clark. The book can serve as a great orientation at the beginning of your trip or a way to reflect on it afterward.”
“What Clark has done with these writers is shown that you can have a truly authentic Detroit experience, built from all walks of life. There’s city dwellers, suburbanites, new comers to the city (and region), former residents, and people just passing through. In a city that often pits people against each other based on race, class, and geographic location (although this is often linked more closely with the other two factors), … this book brings everybody to the table to have a voice.”
The Urbanist Dispatch
“A Detroit Anthology is one of the surprise hits of the year. While many books have been written on and about Detroit by writers who have visited, this anthology of prose, poetry, and essays is written by the metro area’s residents themselves … it’s the wide ethnic array of voices that truly shows the facets of Detroit life.”
“Anna Clark’s writing has always impressed me, and she proves herself a talented editor as well with A Detroit Anthology. These essays, stories, poetry, and photographs from a diverse group of writers offer a mesmerizing portrait of the city’s past, present, and future.”
“…a refreshingly well-packed collection.”
Motor City Muckracker
“…the growing shelf of books by writers who truly get what happened to Detroit—the plays of Dominique Morisseau; Mark Binelli’s Detroit City Is the Place To Be; a compendium of the city’s voices called A Detroit Anthology, edited by Anna Clark; and Thomas J. Sugrue’s magisterial The Origins of the Urban Crisis…”
The Daily Beast
“From browsing farmers markets to disintegrating neighborhoods, the days of Motown and destruction from drugs, the words on the pages demonstrate that Detroit is filled with strength and soul.”
“The stories will make you smile; it might make your heart pound. It might even make you tear up, like I did. It’s a history lesson; it’s a love for the rich history. Most of all, this collection of work will make you fall in love Detroit.”
“While the anthology doesn’t seek to be complete, I find it thorough. There are essays about sports and food and music, poems about school and fear and language. We get the perspectives of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Detroiters, Greek and black and biracial, hardworking and unemployed and activist Detroiters, LGBT and blind and young and old, those who have left, those who have stayed, those who have returned. We get anger and love, frustration and celebration. … (a) wild and wonderful anthology.”
Waxwing Literary Review