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Furious Flower Poetry Center
Opening the World of Black Poetry

The first Furious Flower Poetry Conference was a historic gathering. Convened by Dr. Joanne Gabbin in September 1994 to celebrate the eminent poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the conference brought together Black poets, as well as scholars and lovers of Black poetry. The groundbreaking gathering was among the largest of its kind, drawing more than 30 acclaimed Black poets in conversation and audiences of up to 1,300 people. Attendees packed auditoriums on the campus of James Madison University to hear from Black poets and learn more about Black poetry. With a second conference in 2004 and a third in 2014, the decennial nature of this flagship event became firmly established. The conference had become defined by its focus on the long view of Black poetic traditions. Through open mics, interviews, roundtable scholarly discussions, and, of course, readings by the most renowned names in poetry, the Furious Flower Poetry Conference continues to stage contemporary trends in Black literature, culture, and thought from a range of creative outlooks, as well as provide a platform for new scholarship, critical approaches, and performance strategies for the students at James Madison University, the Harrisonburg community, nationwide, and globally.

Intergenerational, international, and intentional in its focus on the expansiveness of the Black poetic tradition, the 2024 Furious Flower Conference celebrates The Worlds of Black Poetry and is jointly dedicated to the inestimable Elizabeth Alexander and Kwame Dawes. Furious Flower IV will be held at its traditional home at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia on September 18-21, 2024. Your donation will help Furious Flower Poetry Center and the Furious Flower Conference as well as the students of James Madison University by opening the world of Black poetry right here on campus.

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