Terry Blackhawk is the founder and Executive Director Emerita of Detroit 's acclaimed InsideOut Literary Arts Project, a poets-in-schools program serving over 5,000 youth per year. She began teaching English in 1968 after graduating from Antioch College , and took up writing poetry, herself, when she was already teaching it to her students. "I thought, 'If I'm asking them to do this, I should have the same experience myself.' I fell in love with it. I became a poet. It's who I am."  

Terry's poetry collections include Body & Field (Michigan State University Press, 1999), Escape Artist (BkMk Press, 2003), selected by Molly Peacock for the John Ciardi Prize; and The Dropped Hand (Marick Press, 2007). She has published two chapbooks, Trio: Voices from the Myths (Ridgeway Press, 1998) and Greatest Hits 1989-2003 (Pudding House Press). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Marlboro Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Florida Review, Borderlands, Artful Dodge, The MacGuffin and Nimrod. Her essays have been published in Review Revue, An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia, Language Arts Journal of Michigan and anthologies from the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She was a finalist for the 2009 Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod Press for “Out of the Labyrinth” and other poems. She has received many recognitions for her teaching, including Creative Writing Educator of the Year from the Michigan Youth Arts Festival (2008), a Humanities Award from Wayne County Arts, History and Humanities Council (2008), and 2007 Detroit Bookwoman of the Year from the Women’s National Book Association. She is the recipient of the 2010 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize from Nimrod International for her poem "Chambered Nautilus, with Tinnitus and Linden." Terry's latest poetry collection is The Light Between (Wayne State University Press, 2012.)


The oldest of four children, Terry remembers her youth as a sort of movable feast. Her father, Ben Bohnhorst, was a much-traveled professor of education; her mother, Marie, a pianist. There was little money, but loads of culture. "The piano followed us wherever we moved." She is the mother of the historian Ned Blackhawk and grandmother to Eva and Tobias. 


Terry serves on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and is a founding board member of the WITS (Writers in the Schools) Alliance.


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Spent Saints & Other Stories

A novel in short stories (Ridgeway Press). Released spring 2017


"A gimlet-eyed chronicler of subterranean scenes, Brian Jabas Smith has spent a career finding both truth and beauty among those who've been consigned to the narrow margins of society. At last we're given a collection that captures the essence of his vintage neon prose. But Spent Saints is more than just glorious guttersnipe poetry -- it's a work of deep empathy and trenchant wit, a humanist drama that seeks to understand the lives of the artistic demimonde and the unglamorous working masses at once." 

—Bob Mehr, author of Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements

"In these fine stories, Brian Smith’s direct, natural, story-telling voice rocks with the authority and grit of someone who’s been there and come back to tell the tale."

—Jim Daniels, author of Eight Mile High and Birthmarks

"In Spent Saints, Brian Smith reaches down to the bottom rung and pulls up despair as it melts into unlikely beauty, brings the reader dangerously close to unfolding, ominous dread and unveils the side of life that is dark, wanting and formidable. Without reserve, he transfers the reader into worlds that are uneasy, without boundaries and desperately fragile. Like the note that remains long after it's been played, this collection will remain with the reader with it's honesty and exquisite starkness, at the same time both magnetic and haunting." 

—Laurie Notaro, author of Crossing the Horizon and Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club

"Brian Smith writes of people nearly broken, on the edge of being pinned down by their demons, and manages to find their moments of redemption and grace. This is powerful, heartbreaking work.”

—Christopher Farnsworth, author of Blood Oath and The Eternal World

In this powerful collection of linked stories, debut author Brian Jabas Smith gazes into the lives of the stunted and the lost. There’s the teenaged bicycle-racing champion from the Arizona desert who’s escaping an abusive home life. The jaundiced rock ’n’ roll singer whose neon-lit gaze takes us from a Beverly Hills mansion to the crack-cocaine streets of old Hollywood. The desperate addict in the Phoenix barrio with nowhere to turn, strung out on crystal meth, porn, alcohol and nude dancers. Elsewhere, a Detroit journalist discovers that sobriety wasn’t part of his job description, and the internally crippled mother whose lovely daughters are doomed for life. These stories are disturbing and raw yet offer eerily beautiful portrayals of loss, ultimately, reclamation, and perhaps, redemption. 

"We cannot imagine the pain that is headed our way. We can only guess at the precise contours of the hells we are about to inflict upon ourselves. Chained to our own rocks, ringed by electric fences we have built inside our minds, we can scarcely comprehend that all we have to do is walk away. Oh, yes. In these knife-edged, fiercely intelligent stories, Brian Smith tells us all about these truths, his characters delivering to us hard-won knowledge that is both terrifying and oddly exhilarating, like walking down the streets of a bad neighborhood at midnight. Read them, reflect on them, admire them—then drink a glass of orange juice and get yourself to the gym.—Gregory McNamee

—Gregory McNamee, author of Gila and Blue Mountains Far Away