Our Mission:

By immersing students in the joy and power of poetry and literary self-expression, InsideOut inspires them to think broadly, create bravely and share their voices with the wider world.

Meet the 2018 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate Imani Nichele!

The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate title is given to one teen each year to promote literacy, artistic engagement, and civic awareness among their peers. They will design a community service project, publish a collection of poems, and perform across the city.

Learn more about Youth Poet Laureate and Ambassadors program.

Citywide Poets Has a Home in Hamtramck

Beginning on January 30th, writers age 13 to 19 will gather at Hamtramck Library from 4:30 to 6:30 to analyze works of poetry, develop original pieces of creative writing, and build upon a growing community of writers in the metro Detroit area. Hamtramck Library will host Citywide Poets sessions EVERY Tuesday for all interested writers. Students will also gain access to public performance opportunities, poetry slam competitions, publication opportunities and more.

This program is free for all! Fill out our digital registration form HERE, and join us on January 30th for the first session of 2018!

Are you the next voice of Detroit? Apply to become the 2018 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate!

Through the end of the year, InsideOut Literary Arts will be accepting submissions from young poets, rappers, leaders and activists ages 13-19 from across Wayne County. Workshops are available in November and December to support prospective applicants in designing a high-quality portfolio.

The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate award winner will receive individual artistic mentorship and will have opportunities to present and perform in civic and creative spaces. A manuscript of their work will be professionally designed and published. More info here.

Interested in hosting an application workshop or getting more information?
Contact Ben Alfaro.

We made our $10,000 match!

Thank you to everyone who supported us this month and made this short campaign a complete success!

Because of you, our amazing community, the Dr. Terry Blackhawk Fund for Program Excellence is built on a strong foundation that will allow InsideOut to grow well into the future.

Strategic philanthropy is truly powerful, and we thank you for believing in the power of youth voice.

Executive Director Suma Rosen is featured on Comcast Newsmakers

Listen to Suma talk about InsideOut’s 22-year legacy inspiring Detroit students through creative writing.

Thank you to Comcast and Laurel Hess for showcasing our work!

High School Poets In Michigan are Louder Than a Bomb

The fifth annual Louder Than a Bomb: The Michigan Youth Poetry Festival (LTAB) took place May 4-7. Over the course of the 4-day event, more than 150 poets representing over twenty schools and organizations across the state convened in Detroit for the largest youth poetry festival in Michigan. This year, teams represented many organizations and schools, including Arts Academy in the Woods, Citywide Poets, Communication & Media Arts High School, Covert High School, Chippewa Valley High School, Detroit International Academy for Young Women, the Detroit Public Library, Detroit School of Arts, EMU Brighter Futures, Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, Forest Hills Northern High School, InsideOut Literary Arts, Lake Shore High School, the Neutral Zone, RAISE IT UP! Youth Arts & Awareness, Royal Oak High School, Troy Public Library, and more.

The program culminated with a Grand Slam event open to the public on Sunday, May 7th at 3pm in the beautiful Community Arts Auditorium on Wayne State University’s campus.

Detroit Youth Poet Laureate & Ambassadors

Citywide Poets alum, Hajjar Baban, is the 2017 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate. In addition to this title, she has also been selected as a finalist for the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate. Read more about Hajjar, here.

The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate and Ambassadors program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity, and education across Detroit.

The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of InsideOut Literary Arts Project and Urban Word NYC with support from the Detroit Public Library, Penmanship Books, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America and Cave Canem.

During the fall, InsideOut Literary Arts Project will accept submissions from young poets, rappers, leaders and activists ages 14-19 from across Wayne County who are interested in representing Detroit as the Detroit Youth Poet Laureate. A group of esteemed judges will choose five Finalists, all given the distinction of Detroit Youth Poet Ambassador, and we will select one teen to be honored with the title of Detroit Youth Poet Laureate at a Detroit Youth Poet Laureate Commencement Performance.

Along with winning the prestigious title of Detroit Youth Poet Laureate, the winning poet will also win a book deal from Penmanship Books to publish their first collection of poems, as well as a library tour. The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate and Detroit Youth Poet Ambassadors will have numerous opportunities and platforms to share their powerful voices, their leadership, and love of Detroit at numerous events across the state.


Past Detroit Youth Poet Laureates
2017 – Hajjar Baban
2016 – Hawa Rahman

Congratulations to our 2017 Detroit Youth Poetry Slam Team: Wes, Ashley Rae, La’Shawn, Damon, and YaKuZa!

These five poets will represent Detroit at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in San Francisco this summer.

You can ensure they have everything they need to succeed — excellent coaching and mentoring, travel expenses, registration costs, and a chance to share their voices with the wider world — by participating in our Slam Team’s online fundraiser: http://bit.ly/DetroittotheBay

Grand Slam Finalists featured on WDET

In case you missed it, some of our Grand Slam finalists (Eldric, YaKuZa, A’janae, Damon and Imani) were featured on WDET. Check out their segment here!

Suma Karaman Rosen joins InsideOut Literary Arts Project as Executive Director

The InsideOut Literary Arts Project (iO) is pleased to announce that Suma Karaman Rosen has been selected as the organization’s new Executive Director effective January 3, 2017.

Suma Karaman Rosen served as Director of Development of ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services) in Dearborn, where she began in 2011 as Development Officer. Ms. Rosen was previously an elementary school teacher for 6 years in several high-priority schools in Oakland, California, and Vancouver, Washington. Her love of poetry led her to write and perform throughout her life, and as an educator, poetry held a vital place in her teaching practice. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MA in Educational Technology from the University of San Francisco.

“InsideOut is an amazing organization. Its strong track record of positively impacting the lives of Detroit’s youth has inspired me since I first learned about it,” said Rosen. “I’m continually humbled and awed by the power of these young poets’ voices, and I strongly believe in the transformative effect of self-discovery through writing. It is an honor to join iO’s talented team and build on the solid foundation established by Founding Director Terry Blackhawk and Interim Director Alise Alousi. I look forward to the next chapter in iO’s story.”

To read more click here!