InsideOut Literary Arts Projects will host a fundraiser on Thursday to supports its poetry and creative writing programs for metro-area yoiuths age 6-19. "Share the Light: An Evening in Celebration of Youth Voice" will be held at the College for Creative Studies' Taubman Center from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $125,or $200 for two.

InsideOut organizes writing workshops in and out of schools, brings in professional writers, and hosts Citywide Poets, an after-school literary community for teens.

The nonprofit also sponsors the Detroit Youth Poet Laureate — this year Imani Nichele from Warren. The Detroit News caught up with the 18-year-old Wednesday. 

How'd you get involved with InsideOut?

I found them through social media and called the office and went to a session at the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. 

Where'd you go to high school?

I went to the Creative Learning Center, an alternative school in Warren. 

How long have you been writing poetry?

I've been writing seriously for two years, which is when I started working with InsideOut. 

Were you always interested in poetry?

Well, I always liked writing. And I did poetry in school — Shakespeare and Robert Frost. But when I got to InsideOut, I saw poetry in a more contemporary form and fell in love with that.

Who's your favorite poet? 

Wow, that's a hard one. I'd say my favorite right now is probably Hanif Abdurraqib, an African-American poet who wrote "They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us." 

What's been valuable about InsideOut? 

Where I grew up, nobody's a poet or writer — you just need to get a job. There's no room to be an artist. But this program puts professional artists in front of you — people who are making a living off things you'd think are just a hobby. 

Will you read Thursday evening?

Yes, I'll read a poem of mine, "For When the Boy Asks, 'What Are We?'"

What do you write about?

Everyday, personal narratives. I like to make ordinary situations as elaborate as they are in my head.

Are you headed for college this year?

Not for the moment. I plan on taking the year to work on my artistry.

(313) 222-6021

Twitter: @mhodgesartguy


'Share the Light' fundraiser to benefit InsideOut Literary Arts Program 

6-8 p.m. Thursday

College for Creative Studies 

Taubman Center, 11th floor 

460 W. Baltimore, Detroit

Tickets: $125 per person; $200 for two

To purchase: go to and search for "Share the Light"

(313) 577-4601 

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