North Texas poets debut new work at The Wild Detectives bookstore.

Into the Wild logoInto the Wild is a month-long investigative blog series that explores an array of events hosted by The Wild Detectives, a café/ bookstore that brings the Dallas community together through interesting events hosted in a welcoming atmosphere.



The atmosphere was buzzing at The Wild Detectives this Wednesday evening as the anticipation mounted for the next installment of their poetry reading series “inner moonlight.” Groups of people milled about the crowded coffee shop, chatting with the friends that they came with and meeting new ones. They were all here for the poetry reading to be performed by Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi and courtney marie, who prefers that her name be printed in lowercase. These two North Texas poets are on the verge of releasing a new dual-chapbook “Moon Woman / don’t get your hopes up.”

Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi is the founder of Dark Moon Poetry & Arts, which is a monthly series that spotlights “the creative feminine and non-binary powers of North Texas,” according to their website. She has also been featured in D Magazine, The Dallas Observer, and the Dallas Morning News. courtney marie is a poet out of Denton who is also the co-founder and primary organizer of the literary and art collective Spiderweb Salon, which was named Best Literary Arts Group in 2016 by the Dallas Observer.

courtney marie reads her poetry at The Wild Detectives.
courtney marie reads her poetry at The Wild Detectives. (Photo by Sara Magalio)

Some people in the audience were quite familiar with the poets, including Joel Constantine, who has known Hirsi for years. Constantine was excited to hear Hirsi’s new work, which he described to me as “personal, women-inspired and freeform.” Constantine has watched Hirsi’s progression as an artist from their “hippie drum circle days” to her present success as a published poet, and was enthusiastic about this next stage in her career.

Other audience members, however, had never heard of either of the poets, but the reputation of interesting events put on by The Wild Detectives attracted them to the event. One such audience member was Mari Ramirez, a recent graduate at UT Arlington who enjoys the “homey and friendly” atmosphere that The Wild Detectives café provides. While she was not familiar with the work of these two poets before this performance, she explained that for her, “Live performance is always a great way to dive in and get familiar with an artist’s work.”

As the emcee for the night approached the mic to introduce the poets, the audience’s enthusiastic chatter immediately subsided, but the energy of the performance to come remained palpable in the room.

Hirsi began the night with powerful declarative statements on life and living it as a woman, eliciting frequent verbal affirmation from the audience with her powerful messages. Her use of direct eye contact and inflection in her voice added a theatrical quality to her demonstrative statements. Hirsi touched on a number of current social and political issues. Some lines from her poetry include, “The paradox of pro-life refuses to accept that black lives matter,” and “My body is a used refrigerator waiting for death outside of a dumpster.”


“Reading the news and seeing posts from friends helps us forget what it means to trust. How many people who ignore our words don’t believe us human.” – Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi


The pieces of paper that courtney marie read from during the poetry reading at The Wild Detectives. (Photo by Sara Magalio)
The pieces of paper that courtney marie read from during the poetry reading at The Wild Detectives. (Photo by Sara Magalio)

courtney marie contrasted Hirsi’s more severe approach by taking a lighter and more whimsical method to reading her poetry. After beginning her turn with a brief anecdote about her witnessing a dead turtle on the side of the road on her trip to the event, marie read lines from small pieces of paper that she allowed to flutter to the floor as she finished reading each scrap, allowing the audience to visualize the separations between her lines of poetry in an unconventional manner.

In courtney marie’s opening poem, she involved the audience in the reading of the poem when she asked the audience to make loud noises as she shouted her poem over our dissonant sounds, declaring lines such as, “I will tell you that I have had enough. I will not be silenced.” The effect of her shouting over our noise enforced her resolution to get her point across in the poem against all odds.

At the event’s conclusion, the audience remained to reflect on their interpretations of the poetry they had just heard, some of the work having only been finished that very day. The conversation incited by this performance emulated the dogma of the Wild Detectives, which is to provide thought-provoking events that catalyze new ideas and conversations.

Infographic presenting data on increases in poetry readership in the U.S. (Graphic by Sara Magalio)
Infographic presenting data on increases in poetry readership in the U.S. (Graphic by Sara Magalio)

Dallas café creates community through literature, music, theatre and more.

Into the Wild is a month-long investigative blog series that explores an array of events hosted by The Wild Detectives, a café/ bookstore that brings the Dallas community together through interesting events hosted in a welcoming atmosphere.



Nestled on a quiet side street in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District, The Wild Detectives storefront is not immediately visible to the casual passerby. Those who are familiar with this bookstore; however, know that to find a stimulating place to work and study, converse with intellectuals in the community, enjoy a music or theatre performance, and even share a drink at the bar, they need look no further than this eccentric space.

The Wild Detectives gets its unusual name and overall mission from a loose translation of Roberto Bolaño’s novel Los Detectives Salvajes (The Savage Detectives, 1998), who according to Mexican author Juan Villoro “are life investigators, inspectors of the experience.”

From its opening in 2014, The Wild Detectives has been committed to instilling a sense of community, where patrons can be inspired by both visiting artists and those sipping a coffee beside them. The Wild Detectives was founded by Spanish civil engineers and long-time friends Javier García del Moral and Paco Vique, who wanted to create a space where they could mix their two passions: “books and booze,” according to their website.

What seemed like a simple mission soon turned into a celebrated business, receiving significant praise including being named Best Bookstore by D Magazine for three years in a row from 2014 to 2016 and being featured as a Best New Thing in Town by the Dallas Observer in 2014. The Wild Detectives was also featured at a 2016 UT Arlington TEDx, in which Javier García discussed the value of conversation in advancing the understanding and acceptance of various cultures. The Wild Detectives continues to advance this idea through hosting thought-provoking lectures, discussions and performances, and through the implementation of ideas such as wifi-free weekends, which encourage patrons to disconnect from their devices and converse with each other.

Photo of the front of Wild Detectives bookstore
Entryway at The Wild Detectives bookstore (Photo by Sara Magalio)

I spoke with Andres de la Casa-Huertas, the Media Director for The Wild Detectives, who shed some more light on how this company is able to provide such diverse events and opportunities for its patrons. He explained that when it comes to scheduling events “the process is very organic, sometimes the events come to us, other times we see who is touring and we reach out to them to see if they’re interested, but we always are thinking about what people would be interested in seeing.” When asked about the impact of wifi-free weekends and how it has changed the atmosphere of The Wild Detectives on those days, de la Casa-Huertas noted that this practice has helped to advance the mission of the business, to create conversation and facilitate cultural awareness.

Photo of Wild Detectives Cafe
The Wild Detectives café (Photo by Sara Magalio)

As I sat at the bar in this cozy bookstore, sipping my refreshing black iced coffee and admiring the vast assortment of books lining the walls, I began to speak with the barista, Olivia Leigh, who shared her impression of The Wild Detectives and what drew her to work for this business.

Leigh has been working at The Wild Detectives for two years. When asked about her perception of the overall atmosphere of the café, Leigh immediately responded, “Eclectic, definitely eclectic.” Leigh continued to explain that what drew her to The Wild Detectives was the array of events that The Wild Detectives hosts, from poetry readings to drag shows. Leigh described The Wild Detectives as a “cultural destination,” where people from many different walks of life can come together and appreciate art and literature. “People often walk in and are a bit confused,” Leigh said. “But I always tell them to ask questions. This is a very welcoming and inclusive environment, and once people get used to it they often come back again and again.”

For Dallas residents looking to catalyze their personal life investigation, 314 W Eighth St. is an excellent place to start.

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