City Of Detroit Names Jessica Care Moore as Poet Laureate: ‘Poems Absolutely Saved My Life’

by Gee NY
Jessica Care Moore attends National CARES Mentoring Movement's 9th Annual For the Love of Our Children Gala at Pier 60 on February 29, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for National CARES Mentoring Movement)

Detroit has bestowed the title of poet laureate upon Jessica Care Moore, a move celebrated for her deep ties to the city’s cultural heritage.

Moore, a lifelong Detroiter, is poised to invigorate the city’s poetry scene through various initiatives, as reported by Fox 2 Detroit.

She will curate poetry events across Detroit and contribute to projects aimed at embracing the city’s diverse community. Annually, Moore will deliver a keynote address at the Detroit Public Library and craft an original poem for a year-end presentation.

“I only hope with this new position, I’ll be able to turn on some lights inside our schools filled with promise and untapped young genius,” Moore expressed during a press conference on April 30. “Poems belong to all of us, and they all have the power to change lives. Poems absolutely saved my life.”

Mayor Mike Duggan applauded the appointment, noting:

“This is a recognition that was overdue…Now it’s official.”

Moore envisions integrating poetry into educational settings, advocating for a shift in the curriculum.

“Let’s bring in contemporary writers and poets and bring them into the classroom. We have great poets in this city,” she said.

Her vision aligns with Director Rochelle Riley’s aspirations for Detroit, aiming to cultivate local talent in the performing arts without the need to seek fame elsewhere.

Beyond her poetic endeavors, Moore is an activist, filmmaker, publisher, and founder of The Moore Art House, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting literacy in Detroit.

A product of Detroit’s public school system, Moore pursued higher education at Wayne State and Michigan State before establishing Moore Black Press Publishing Inc. in Brooklyn in 1997.

Her publishing company has released works by notable figures such as Saul Williams, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and Danny Simmons, with plans to introduce poetry and spoken word audiobooks through a HarperCollins imprint in 2024.

Moore’s artistic versatility has earned her acclaim, from voicing the Pure Michigan campaign in 2023 to collaborating with renowned hip-hop artists like Common, Nas, and Jeezy.

Her forthcoming project, “We Are Scorpio,” a Rock & Roll endeavor with singer Steffanie Christ’ian, is scheduled for release in June 2024 on Talib Kweli’s label.

In 2023, Moore graced the Shabazz Center stage alongside Angela Davis and Benjamin Crump at the invitation of Malcolm X’s family. Her feature film, “He Looked Like A Postcard,” is set to premiere in June 2024.

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