Top poets lead Oakwood’s monthly creative writing workshops

Rhonda Welsh looks at poetry the way a musician looks at music.

The Detroit native, who has two CDs and a collection of poetry under her belt, said she is just as concerned with the way her words sounds as she is with their meaning.

“My poetry is meant to be heard. I always think about the rhythm and the flow of the words,” she said. “That is as important to me as the message.”

It’s a message—and a lesson—she will bring to the Oakwood Creative Writing program next week. Welsh will lead the 90-minute class, which is a cooperative effort between Oakwood Healthcare and Springfed Arts/Metro Detroit Writers. The group is open to anyone 15 years or older who has a desire to write, according to Michael Madigan, who coordinates the program for the healthcare system.

“It’s unique to healthcare systems in southeast Michigan,” he said of the group, which is beginning its 8th year. “They are always fun and a wonderful way to connect to the writing world.”

Welsh is a nationally-known writer who has read and performed at major arts and educational venues throughout metro Detroit and across the country. She holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Public Relations and Organizational Communications. Welsh self-produced her debut CD, I Saw Myself and, in summer 2010, launched her company Crimson Kairos and released her debut poetry collection, Red Clay Legacy. Last year, she released her second recording, Raw Clay.

Welsh is also known for her passion for literacy; she founded the event Free Verse to raise funds, volunteers and book donations to combat low literacy rates in metro Detroit. She also taught the Creative Writing component of Wayne State University’s award-winning Math Corps program and was a writer-in-residence with the nationally renowned Inside Out Literary Arts Project. Her two-week retrospective of African and African-American poetry was a “must-see” during the Detroit Institute of Arts re-opening festivities for donors and the community.

The Oakwood Creative Writing group meets from 6-7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Oakwood Family Center/Oakwood Learning Center at 18501 Rotunda Drive in Dearborn. Classes are $10 and checks should be made out to Springfed Arts. For more information, call Madigan at (313) 586-4902, email him at or visit