Vines & Verses

  • 10:30 PM8:00 PM

    Past Event

Enjoy a night out on Tuesday, November 15—complete with poetry, jazz, and specialty food and drinks highlighting features grown on vines!

The James & Shirley Balk Café will offer food and drink specials. Throughout the evening, music and poetry will be showcased in the Huizenga Grand Room.

Food & Drinks | 5:30—8 pm

Jazz & Poetry | 6—8 pm

This event is free for Meijer Gardens members and included with general admission for other guests.

About the performers:

Foster aka AutoPilot is a professional orator who can be seen capturing hearts on movie sets, moving minds on panels, igniting spirits with spoken word, and commanding the city’s largest stages. AutoPilot is rich with humor and brings that joy into his work as a teaching artist with one of the city’s premier arts and culture nonprofit organizations—The Diatribe—which he co-founded.

A dedicated father who currently resides in Grand Rapids, this Michigan Native was born in Detroit and raised in Muskegon. AutoPilot is a graduate of Grand Valley State University, playwright, lyricist, and nightlife extraordinaire, and the brainchild who co-curated “The Drunken Retort,” one of the “Must Experience Events in the City.” —Grand Rapids Magazine

AutoPilot breathes impromptu truths and truly lives to connect people, be that through community organizing, officiating weddings, or The Original Back to the ‘90s party—which he co-founded—that has sold out nearly 30 shows.


Ericka “Kyd Kane” Thompson is the first Black Woman and openly Queer person to be appointed Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan; a self-taught visual artist, curator, and arts educator; and, most important, a beacon of peace and love, born and raised in West Michigan.

For Kyd, creativity has always been a source of joy, an origin for clarity and a means for survival. Through childhood trauma, adulthood pain, and everything in between, each creation allows her to fill holes, feel whole, feel real and connect with others. Kyd uses self-expression to generate social dialogue about the good and bad of the human experience, by exploring themes such as poverty, privilege, gentrification, resilience, and identity through community conversation, poem, installation, video, and photography.

Kyd’s work has taken her to stages, institutes, galleries, and theaters, including Detroit Masonic Temple; the Michigan State Capitol; Kalamazoo Institute of Art; Unity Center of Peace in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and SiTE:LAB in Grand Rapids, among others. Her voice has been featured on NPR, WYCE Electric Poetry, TEDx, and on the intros, interludes, and outros of various musical artists from all over the country.

You can find Kyd intentionally connecting with community as the co-host of Creston Vibes: a themed open mic series, sparking conversation with the “Challenge Privilege” movement, and engaging young people as a teaching artist with The Diatribe.

Kyd Kane believes her art has the power to generate vibrations that inspire, heal, challenge, affirm and provoke. She’s grateful for the opportunity to live a life filled with passion and purpose.


Since 2008, Brandon Copeland, aka Dante Cope, has been fusing hip-hop and jazz music both as a solo artist and as a member of Les Creatif. Cope is a two-time Jammie-winning saxophonist and songwriter, residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  • Location: Huizenga Grand Room and James & Shirley Balk Cafe