HELP US OPEN OUR DOORS THIS SUMMER
POETRY ON MAIN by #CaribbeanNightingale is your Community Bookstore & Café with a Caribbean feel in the heart of Salt Lake City
702 South Main Street, Suite #146
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
Welcome • Bienvenue • Bienvenido • Akwaaba
POETRY ON MAIN (#POMutah) is Utah’s first Black-Owned Bookstore Café and Poetry Lounge, in memory of late Poet & Mentor Benjamin Cabey.
We are a safe community space, especially for women and minorities in Utah. Whether you want to find enrichment, inspiration, or empowerment through our African American and African Diaspora books or go somewhere peaceful for community healing through our various artistic and self-care programs, POETRY ON MAIN is here for YOU!
Our motto is “Men anpil, chay pa lou” (Haitian Creole for “Many hands make light work.”
EVENTS & WORKSHOPS
Haitian-born Founder, Artivist, and Chef, The Caribbean Nightingale partners with local Black Artists and Artisans, Black-Owned/Lead nonprofits, and food trucks to bring the community the following events. *Registration/RSVP Required*
1. SIP & RHYME (Afro-Bohemian Open Mics)
2. JUST ADD POETRY (Cooking & Journaling Workshops)
1. CUPCAKES FOR BREAKFAST (Book Signings)
2. RELAXATION THROUGH VERSE (Poetry & Music Lounge hosted by The Caribbean Nightingale and patterned after the poetry salons during the Harlem Renaissance)
3. TASTE THE CULTURE (dinner & dance show with Ngoma y’Africa Cultural Center)
• Women Empowerment RETREATS
(August - November - February - May)
STORE & CAFÉ HOURS
Tuesday through Friday: 11am to 6pm
Live Music & Poetry: Thursdays 7pm-9pm
Serving Caribbean beverages, pastries, and ice cream during operating hours
Pick Up & Delivery options may be available
Full Afro-Caribbean meals served during events (TASTE THE CULTURE; RELAXATION THROUGH VERSE)
CLOSED: Saturdays for private events
CLOSED: Sunday & Monday
GLADYS BOUTIQUES is our store (on-site and online) inspired by and named after The Caribbean Nightingale's late mother, who was a Trained Chef, Fashion Designer, Teacher, Entrepreneur, and Community Supporter in Haiti. Gladys Martial passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease in 2019.
The store slogan is “Resilience is Handmade.”
POETRY ON MAIN also partners with Ngoma y’Africa Cultural Center to bring weekly Afro-Caribbean folkloric dance classes on Saturdays.
In addition, Burning Sissy Valley will be regularly holding qtBIPOC healing gatherings.
Finally, we invite local Black Chefs, LGBT Artists, and Community Healing Circles/Self-Care Classes (i.e., yoga) to use the space for a reduced fee.
Corporate & Private events are encouraged to submit a request for venue rental on our Contact form and must use our On-Premise Catering Service.
*TARGET GRAND OPENING DATE: May 18th, 2023*
HOW TO GET YOU THANK YOU GIFT:
When you donate, be sure to write in the Notes your Full Name, your Company Name if applicable, your email address, your preferred social media handle, a mailing address where we can send you your certificate or card, and your phone number (optional).
**Company logos will be featured on our website and wall inside of space.
FUNDRAISER BREAKDOWN: $150,000
• $30K to cover the 12-month lease and commercial kitchen
• $25K to cover furnishings, inventory, and technology equipment
• $75K to cover part-time staff salaries for up to 6 months
• $20K for catering transportation and supplies
————————————————————HEARTFELT NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER
Michaëlle, The Caribbean Nightingale
Poetess • Chef • Artivist
This is my story... This is OUR WHY
It is summer 2012 in Salt Lake City. I am recently divorced after escaping domestic violence. Now, I'm raising my three living (very young) children as an immigrant Black single mother in Utah.
Nearly two winters ago, I buried my youngest child at a US southern state cemetery many miles of ocean away from my homeland, Haiti.
Ironically, my country of birth also happened to have been struck with the deadliest earthquake in its history, precisely two weeks after my four 1/2-month-old daughters passed away in her sleep at home in Utah. This is a state where only 2% of the population is African American. When the earthquake struck Haiti, I lost a very dear friend. My childhood home, where I grew up for nearly 20 years, was damaged. My mom and dad had to run to the nearest chapel (LDS Church) to seek shelter. I didn't receive any news for two days of whether they were still alive or dead.
I woke up again this blissfully sunny summer morning, still devastated by the lingering effects of marital abuse, grief, and the heavy family load I carry daily. I cried myself to sleep in secret again last night, but every morning I keep putting on a brave face for my three precious babies, still alive and well at home with me (plus our chiwawa/rat terrier fur baby). They are all depending on me to care for them to the best of my abilities. I say my morning prayers as I feel grateful for the privilege of having three bright children who keep me young (or old, depending on the day) when I laugh with them, learn with them, and teach them whatever I can. I'm also thankful for having gainful employment, some family nearby, a supportive LDS bishop (finally), my first real therapist, empathetic neighbors and friends here in Utah, etc.
For the next ten years, I resumed writing poetry, which I had fallen in love with at the age of 14, at school back in Haiti. As soon as I discover the art of spoken word performance starting in the summer of 2012 (mainly through 365 Poetry and my late mentor Benjamin Cabey), I find joy in sharing my talent as well as in collaborating with various emerging artists who identify as women, Black, Brown, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) around Utah and Africa.
But in the summer of 2013, I made a Vision Board at home with my kiddos for what I would later call POETRY ON MAIN #POMutah. At that time, I was running yet again from a domestic violence situation by moving to another town with the kids. I really wish someone had told me much sooner that contrary to popular belief when you leave a relationship with a narcissistic abuser, you are not automatically exempt from acts of violence or psychological abuse from them. I am just glad that a Victim Advocate at the police department informed me of that important fact when she did while showing empathy.
From 2020 on, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the social injustices highlighted by the televised murder of George Floyd that same year, I file for Caribbean Nightingale LLC (DBA POETRY ON MAIN). I then work tirelessly to open a physical location for this cultural center my children and I had drafted on cardboard 7 years earlier. I network incessantly in the Salt Lake area, I apply to multiple business grants, meet regularly with business advisors, attend online marketing training sessions, apply for and participate in entrepreneurship programs, and so on. All of my attempts at raising the necessary startup funds remain unsuccessful. I then experience a severe case of burnout.
As I begin to set my mind on giving up, the spring of 2022 brings another devastating life event. Unexpectedly, my young son receives a major health diagnosis. At this point I'm falling apart inside and praying day and night. One day while visiting with my son at the hospital where he's awaiting his first heart surgery, he looks at me and asks: "mom, will you be writing a third book now, one that talks about your experience at the hospital here with me?". I look at him confused and simply say "son, this is the last thing on my mind right now. I'm just focusing on being there for you." He looks at me again and replies "well, you should!" At that moment, I realized three important things.
First, I cannot lose my baby boy too. After all, who would I have quirky random conversations like this with, other than him? Who would I go watch the latest Batman or Wolverine movie with? Second, I have to publish my next poetry collection this year. After a couple of months of nonstop writing, I now plan to self-publish THE NIGHTINGALE WOMAN'S PRAYERS: POEMS ON FAITH AND HEALING around this year's Thanksgiving Holiday.
Lastly, I cannot give up on the dream my 3 kiddos and I created nine years ago on a makeshift Vision Board, a simple cardboard box where we drew each room of POETRY ON MAIN that will bring joy and healing to our community.
I will do it for my son who embodies the notion of Black Boy Joy and shows me that heart disease or not, life is worth living. I will do it for my daughter navigating a world of unrealistic expectations placed on Black women in our society. I will do it for my second teenage Black son who braved a world of transphobia to be authentic to who he is.
I do it for all the Black, Brown, or LGBT youth in Utah who struggle to fit in and even sometimes to live in an overwhelmingly non diverse state. I do it for the people like me who are domestic violence (DV) survivors or other trauma survivors who seek a place of refuge through creativity, authenticity, and poetry. They deserve it. I deserve it.
Please join me, my precious kiddos, the artists, chefs, and locally-owned businesses from various minority groups with whom I work. Help us in our efforts to promote Women Empowerment, Inclusion, and Mental Health Awareness in Utah. Lend us a hand in providing a safe community space where all feel welcome at our Poetry-focused wellness retreats, open mics, workshops, and classes. Help lift Black Voices in this state and beyond by shopping for Books by emerging Black Authors, handmade Afro-Caribbean inspired dresses and accessories, and custom made cards at GLADYS BOUTIQUE.
Create Community with us starting this summer 2023. Be a part of a Utah legacy that your children and grandchildren will benefit from even after you're gone.
HELP US HELP OUR UTAH COMMUNITY
Catch the island vibes with The Caribbean Nightingale & Friends… RSVP Today to our Upcoming Fundraising Events