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Video Recordings


Camille Dungy presented a poetry reading at James Madison Universtiy on September 26, 2013.  Hailing from San Francisco, Dungy is the author of Smith Blue, winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize.  Her other books include Suck on the Marrow and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison.  She is also the editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.  Dungy has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Cave Canem, the Dana Award, and Bread Loaf.

Click here to view the poetry reading.  


Jericho Brown presented a poetry reading at James Madison University on February 21, 2013.  Brown is the recipient of the 2009 American Book Award for his first book of poems Please.  His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Believer and Ploughshares, among others.  He is currently an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Emory University.
Click here to view the poetry reading.

 Click here to view the Q & A held after the poetry reading. 


"Sheer Good Fortune:  Celebrating Toni Morrison" took place on October 16, 2012 in Virginia Tech's Burruss Hall Auditorium.  The event, hosted by Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, and Joanne Gabbin was an opportunity to honor and love Toni Morrison, an American novelist, editor, and professor.  Click here to view the program.



Glenis Redmond visited James Madison University on September 22, 2011.  Ms. Redmond is the recipient of numerous awards such as the Cary McCray Literary Award, the Asheville Arts Council grant, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts Fellowship. She was also recognized as Best Poet of Western North Carolina in 1999 and 2002. She receives praise not only for her written work but for her poetry performances. She has published three chapbooks: Naming It, If I Ain’t African, and Word Power.  She also has two CDs containing performances of her poetry: Glenis on Poetry and Monumental.

Click here to view the poetry reading.



"73 Poems for 73 Years:  Celebrating the Life of Lucille Clifton"



Joanne Gabbin and Nikki Giovanni hosted a memorial celebration for Lucille Clifton on September 21, 2010 at James Madison University. The tribute program, “73 Poems for 73 Years: Celebrating the Life of Lucille Clifton,” brought together poets from all around the country who read her poems and reflected on her life.   A souvenir tribute book including tributes from national literary organizations and a DVD of the program is available.  For more information about purchasing the DVD, click here.   The program was sponsored by the Furious Flower Poetry Center at JMU and the Steger Creative Writing Prize at Virginia Tech.

1994 and 2004 Conferences

In September, 1994, over  thirty presenters discussed the significance and scope of African American poetry to an audience composed of hundreds of poets, scholars, and poetry-enthusiasts.   "Furious Flower: A Revolution in African American Poetry" transformed James Madison University into a “literary village.”  This was a landmark event, one which paid tribute to the elders of African American poetry such as Gwendolyn Brooks, and ushered forth a new generation of writers.  

In September 2004, Furious Flower hosted a second decade-defining conference on African American Poetry, “Regenerating the Black Poetic Tradition” Over 100 presenters, including both established and emerging scholarly and literary voices, visited James Madison University. 

Click below for videos of readings by Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Mari Evans, Kevin Young, and Rita Dove among many others.  Several paper presentations including poet Elizabeth Alexander and scholar Aldon Lynn Nielsen are also available for viewing.


Nikki Giovanni:  Truth Is On Its Way

This concert commemorated the 35th anniversary of the release of Nikki Giovanni's Truth Is On Its Way album in 1971.  Giovanni's original album was one of the first of its kind, combining traditional gospel spirituals with Giovanni's own contemporary poetry.

Choir members included students from the following regional colleges and universities:  James Madison University, Virginia State University, Eastern Mennonite University, Mary Baldwin College, and Washington & Lee University. Click here to view the concert.