Books: A Detroit anthology

They stagger in one by one — each with a story, each with a life of problems. First comes the prostitute. Then comes a drinker. Every swing of the door brings another desperate person from the street outside.

How do you read that and not thirst for more? That’s how the collection is in A Detroit Anthology. Rust Belt Chic Press kindly sent me a review copy.

The anthology is the Detroit FUBU: For us, by us. (Sidenote: Wasn’t aware the company rebranded, which makes sense since I feel like I haven’t seen anyone wearing that clothing since 1998-ish. Also didn’t know Samsung invested in FUBU in 1995.)

The “us” are the writers, a few of whom I’m proud to say I’ve worked alongside with, others whose bylines are recognizable from the years I’ve pored over the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News; more often than not — both. They’re also photographers, poets and essayists bringing the city alive through the pages.

The “us” are the people whose stories are featured, whether it’s the authors themselves or those they write about. Like the Brooklyn transplant whose summer internship turned into six years. The fixer who plants himself on the same spot near an abandoned storefront and makes money by tinkering with broken lawnmowers that vroom back to the life. The writer/author who recalls her hungry days in the city. The above quoted prostitutes and drug addicts who venture into a safe haven lost as lost can be — but just might find their way.

The pictures painted sometimes aren’t pretty, nor they should be. Then, it wouldn’t be the truth. If what you know about Detroit is what the national media has fed you, then the truth feels like Dan Gilbert, and as far as I can see, there’s no Dan Gilbert in these pages.

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. Because, like the title of the first piece puts it: We love Detroit, even if you don’t.

Practice-Space will host a book launch at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 31.


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