So much diversity exists in Hamtramck. Home of Planet Ant, it has, like Steppenwolf of Chicago, given rise to great careers in acting. Klinger Street runs through Hamtramck, and we saw a household worth of artifacts at ArtPrize, a house with a Klinger Street address. A mosque at Joseph Campau and Caniff street broadcasts a call to prayer, a right earned by fights in court. The best Packzi are made and fried on Joseph Campau. On any street, as night stretches toward evening, listen for the profound baritone of Serbian singing. Yes, many of the bars are owned by Albanians and Croats, and that makes for a good welcome at the door. Vievee Francis, a poet honored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, once hosted a poetry reading at a forgotten coffeehouse along Joseph Campau. Craig Newmark who went on to develop Craig's List, hung out at a funky, raw space coffeehouse that held the strangest open mikes ... I remember an earnest patron who hit me up for money for a New York Times subscription. We are talking 1995 here.
Later in life, I met a prosperous artist who had built a portfolio of rental houses. She had run away from home before eighteen, and she had slept at that mysterious coffeehouse.
The club has probably changed names, a neighborhood bar near the library. An erotic poetry festival met there, led off by Sharon Smith Knight's poem about ten inches ..... of snow. Yes, that's the ticket. Art and Allen might not be bartending any more, but Lily's Club 21 was exploring the possibilities of hard core rock and roll inside a narrow club. And then there's St. Florian, a Cathedral where all men and women are cherished and the Polish language and culture are preserved.
Ten soups made according to authentic recipes impresses. However, according to James Mitchner's novel, Poland, a woman prepared for marriage in Poland by making a different soup for each day, for an entire year.