Dennis Hinrichsen Selected as Inaugural Lansing Poet Laureate

Lansing Poet Laureate to engage tri-county community in the literary arts 

LANSING, Mich.  The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), the RCAH Center for Poetry at Michigan State University, and the Lansing Poetry Club, are proud to announce the appointment of Dennis Hinrichsen as the inaugural Lansing Poet Laureate. As poet laureate, Dennis will engage Metro Lansing in the literary arts to promote poetry as an art form, expand access to the literary arts, connect the community to poetry, and showcase poetry as a literary voice that contributes to a greater sense of place.

“The appointment of a poet laureate is the type of arts and culture activity that will draw world-class talent to our region,” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP. “I’m also pleased to see the Lansing Poet Laureate come to fruition, and we are eager to see how Dennis uses his expertise to connect our region to the world through the beautiful messaging of poetry.”

The appointment of the Lansing Poet Laureate is the first of its kind for the Greater Lansing region. Stimulating the transformative impact of poetry, this appointment will create excitement about the written and spoken word. The Lansing Poet Laureate will serve as an ambassador for poetry within the community for a 2-year appointment, and will receive a $2,000 per year stipend from LEAP’s Placemaking Committee.

Dennis is a long-time Lansing resident and retired professor of English at Lansing Community College. “The focus of my first year as the Lansing Poet Laureate will be on Poems of Place,” said Dennis Hinrichsen, Lansing Poet Laureate. “We lead diverse lives in diverse landscapes, even in the Metro Lansing area, and I hope to engage the community in giving voice to that uniqueness. These places might be hidden, secret, or even very public, but they define our lives here and are worthy of expression in poetry.”

With this appointment, the Lansing Poet Laureate will offer instructional workshops and readings with the public, working to engage all 3 counties within Metro Lansing. Dennis will focus on working with middle and high school aged students to bring poetry to area classrooms. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with writers of all ages in Eaton, Ingham and Clinton counties,” said Hinrichsen. “I hope to pass on the power and pleasure of working with the written and spoken word, with the hope that it can become a larger part of our shared cultural life.”

“I am particularly excited about Dennis’ project exploring the Poetry of Place, the unique ‘take’ we all have on our homes and hometowns, those places or moments that are so vivid they live forever in our mindscape. We all have tales to tell,” said Ruelaine Stokes, president of the Lansing Poetry Club.

“Here at the RCAH Center for Poetry, we’re thrilled to see Dennis as Lansing Poet Laureate. The selection process was robust, with many excellent choices,” said Laurie Hollinger, Assistant Director for the RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU. “In the end, Dennis’ stature as both a nationally renowned poet and his passion for poetry made him the best fit in this inaugural role. He will set the bar high for future poets laureate, and I’m excited for our region to have such a gift.”

The first reading with Dennis Hinrichsen as the Lansing Poet Laureate will take place during Arts Night Out in Old Town Lansing on May 5, 2017. The community is invited to join Dennis and the project partners for an evening at the MICA Gallery located at 1210 Turner St. Lansing, MI 48906. The welcoming event will feature a meet and greet with the poet laureate and periodic readings throughout the evening.

Information about the Lansing Poet Laureate and future events can be found at lansingpoet.weebly.com.

From Little Hydra, Little Garden
By Dennis Hinrichsen

Two trains meet and for a moment
their horns collide, open
like a great wing in the night—
car parts to the other side of town,
Port Huron bound train to the east.
And then that fade, collapse.
Worm of absence.
The sound of the river re-inserts
itself.  Rush of the outtake vents
pouring heat into the current
so fish can loll above the dam
before they sluice the gate
into hook and meat.
Downstream:  turtles, heron
stalking a patch of mud for something
narrow, silver—minnow,
belly of frog.  Newborn ducks
punked out and vulnerable.
All of us in linger and float, awaiting
placement.  Angle of vision.


About LEAP

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all—working every day to grow, retain and attract business.