“Dynamite Voices: Broadside Press of Detroit” heading for campus

September 6, 2001
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Get ready for the explosion. The “Dynamite Voices” are about to erupt at the University of Michigan.

As part of the Detroit 300 Theme Semester in the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the U-M’s Special Collections Library will host a special program and reception in celebration of a new acquisition and the exhibit “Dynamite Voices: Broadside Press of Detroit” on Sept. 13 at 4 p.m.

The program will include an historical recounting of the Broadside Press presented from the point of view of several of those closest to the publishing house. The panelists include Ron Allen, editor of HIPOLOGY, an anthology of 65 poets. Poets, writers, and artists including Gloria House; Mike Liebler; Leslie Resse; Al Ward; Willie Williams; and previous Press owners, Don and Hilda Vest will participate. The presentation will illustrate the importance of the Broadside Press to African American poets in Detroit and elsewhere.

The Broadside Press was established in 1965, by noted poet Dudley Randall to publish his own poems and the works of African American writers such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Haki Madhubuti (Don L. Lee) and others whose works spawned and nourished the Black Arts Movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Randall taught poetry at U-M and was poet-in-residence at the University of Detroit during 1969-77.

The exhibit includes several of Randall’s poems including one of his best known works, “Booker T and W.E.B. Dubois,” a poem written early in his career, and “Dressed All In Pink,” one of his original “broadsides”—a broadside is defined as a single sheet of paper with one side printed.

Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, “We Real Cool: the Pool Players Seven at the Golden Shovel,” broadsides that cover the entire history of the Broadside Press, books, audio and video tapes, correspondence, and photographs are also part of the exhibit. It is one of the only collections of African American literary works that document the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements.

The collection is a gift from Don and Hilda Vest, owners of the Detroit-based publisher from 1985 to 1998.

The program will begin at 4 p.m. with a reception immediately following at 5:30 p.m. in the Special Collections Library on the seventh floor of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library located at 920 North University St. in Ann Arbor. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information about the event or exhibit, contact the Special Collections Library at (734) 764-9377 or at http://www.lib.umich.edu/newnow/broadside.html.

Detroit 300 Theme SemesterDudley RandallBlack Arts MovementHarlan Hatcher Graduate Library