I Got a Lust for Life: The Unique Words and Sounds of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan

January 20, 2018

Join a series of panel discussions, poetry readings and musical performances that reflect the impact of the African-American Great Migration on literary and musical expression in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. The events start in Detroit and move to Toledo, with buses shuttling between the two cities.

To sign up for free transportation between the Detroit and Toledo events, click here.

Detroit Event

10:00 AM  Panel Discussion at Schaver Music Recital Hall  (480 W. Hancock St., Detroit)  Featuring:

  • Ben Blackwell – Co-founder of Third Man Records and official archivist for the White Stripes
  • John Gibbs Rockwood – Toledo native and author of the 2014 book Can I Get a Witness
  • Ramona Collins – Longtime Toledo resident and popular Glass City jazz singer
  • Oliver Ragsdale, Jr. — President of the Carr Center in Detroit


Toledo Events

2:30 PM  Tyehimba Jess Poetry Reading at McMaster Center, Main Library, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library  (325 Michigan St., Toledo)
Tyehimba Jess is a storyteller and engaging performer whose work has focused on music, biography, and African-American history. A Detroit native and 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Jess will read from Olio, his award-winning collection of poetry that weaves together sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded, African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I.

6:00 PM  Panel Discussion at GlasSalon Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art  (2444 Monroe St., Toledo)  Featuring:

  • Tyehimba Jess – Detroit native, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
  • Lee Ellen Martin – Jazz vocalist and Jon Hendricks scholar
  • M.L. Liebler – Detroit-based, award-winning poet and editor of the anthology Heaven Was Detroit: From Jazz to Hip-Hop and Beyond
  • Frances Brockington – Associate Professor of Voice, Wayne State University


Sponsors include:

  • Wayne State University Department of Music
  • Wayne State University Humanities Center
  • Toledo.com
  • Toledo Lucas County Public Library
  • Toledo Museum of Art
  • The University of Toledo College of Arts and Letters
  • The University of Toledo Department of Art
  • The University of Toledo Department of English Language and Literature
  • The University of Toledo Department of Music
  • The University of Toledo Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • The University of Toledo Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
  • The University of Toledo School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • The University of Toledo School of Visual and Performing Arts

For more information, see the event page at the University of Toledo or contact Associate Professor of Music Joshua S. Duchan