Furious Flower
  Poetry Center
  MSC 3802
  Harrisonburg, VA 22807
  PHONE: (540) 568-8883
  FAX: (540) 568-8888

  Natalia Bradshaw-Parson

  Furious Flower News

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Archived News

E. Ethelbert Miller to Read Poetry on Monday, September 18 in TDU

E. Ethelbert Miller will read his poetry at Taylor Down Under (on the campus of James Madison University) on Monday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m. Miller is a literary activist who has written ten volumes of poetry, including How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love (2004), Buddha Weeping in Winter (2001), and Whispers, Secrets, and Promises (1998). Miller is arguably the most influential person in Washington D.C.’s vast and vibrant African American arts community. His poetry is experimental, jazz-like, and full of surprises. The program is co-sponsored by Cross Disciplinary Studies, the Furious Flower Poetry Center, and the English Department. Learn more about E. Ethelbert Miller at the library or by visiting:

Read a selection of Miller’s poems at:


Def Poetry Jam returns to JMU this Thursday!

The JMU Center for Multicultural Student Services (CMSS) is once again sponsoring a performance of Def Poetry Jam. The performance poets touring with Def Poetry Jam were popularized by the series of the same name on HBO. This year Furious Flower Poetry Center is proud to co-sponsor the event.

Thursday, August 31, from 4:30-6 p.m. in Taylor 405. JMU students and members of the Poetry Club are invited to attend a poetry-writing workshop with the Def Poets.

Everyone is invited to the Festival Grand Ballroom on Thursday, August 31, at 6:30 p.m. for an open mic poetry session, followed by the Def Poetry Jam performance at 7 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Lecture and Poetry Reading by Mervyn Morris on April 11

Professor Mervyn MorrisProfessor Mervyn Morris, poet and noted scholar of Caribbean poetry, will give a poetry reading at JMU Tuesday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 405, Taylor Hall. Morris will also lecture that morning from 9:30-10:45 in Taylor 405.

Mervyn Morris was born in Jamaica in 1937 and studied at the University College of the West Indies and St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In 1992 he was a UK Arts Council Visiting Writer-in-Residence at the South Bank Centre. His previous collections include The Pond, Shadowboxing, Examination Centre and On Holy Week; he also edited The Faber Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories and published 'Is English We Speaking' and other essays. He lives in Kingston, Jamaica, where he is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & West Indian Literature.*

Morris' visit is co-sponsored by Dr. Michelle Smith-Bermiss of the English Department and the Furious Flower Poetry Center.

Student poets are invited to attend a poetry workshop with Professor Morris on Monday, April 10, at 2 p.m. in Keezell 414.

*Biographical information from


Furious Flower 2004 Conference Quilt

Furious Flower 2004 Conference Quilt

Rebecca and David Feind recently presented this quilt to Dr. Gabbin from participants in the 2004 Furious Flower Poetry Conference.

Rebecca collaborated with Elizabeth Haworth and Jeanine Talley (of the Furious Flower Poetry Conference staff) to send individual fabric squares to the conference participants.

After a year of hard work, Rebecca and David presented the lovely gift to Joanne Gabbin during her visit to Stanford in early March.

More photographs of the quilt and its construction are available here.



TONIGHT: Iron Rose Tour, TDU, 7:30 p.m.
TOMORROW: Iron Rose Poetry Workshop, Hillcrest, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

We'd also like for you to know about a poetry event in the coming week. The following message is from the JMU Baha'i Association:

WEDNESDAY: Poet Michael Fitzgerald

On Wednesday, March 29th at 7:30pm in Taylor 404 the JMU Baha'i Association will be presenting poet Michael Fitzgerald. He will be speaking about peace and social conscience in contemporary poetry. 

Michael Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books of poetry, nonfiction and children’s literature, and the winner of several awards. He has given poetry readings and workshops in the United States, Canada and Europe. He has worked on projects for the Association of Baha’i Studies, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Defenders of Wildlife, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Federation of the Blind, the Smithsonian Institution, the US Public Interest Research Group, National Public Radio and others. He lives in Winchester, Virginia.
Please help spread the word and bring your friends!
We hope to see you there!
JMU Baha'i Association



The Iron Rose Tour comes to Taylor Down Under
Friday, March 24, 2006
7:30 p.m.

Iron Rose Tour

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Furious Flower presents the Iron Rose Tour, featuring performance poets Tameka L. Barnette (AsajaGroove) and Keisha J. Moore (Lady Laureate).

In this spoken word performance, Barnette and Moore will conjure women writers throughout our history.  Their repertoire spans from the works of Phillis Wheatley to those of the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts movement to today’s SLAM movement. 

Barnette and Moore will present their own original poetry intertwined with works from the women who have molded history with their words.

The poets will also present a SLAM workshop for JMU students on Saturday, March 25, 2006.  For more information, please contact Julie Caran or Elizabeth Haworth at Furious Flower.



Truth Is On Its Way Concert A Great Success!

Audience members at the concert on Monday, February 27, 2006, had the opportunity to experience history in the making as Nikki Giovanni and a gospel choir and band brought a reprise of Truth Is On Its Way, Giovanni's trend-setting recording of 1971. For the latest press, photographs, and information on the show, please click here.

Ms. Giovanni, Ms. Winn, special guest Val Gray Ward, and the choir members and musicians made this show a memorable event for all of us! To relive the night, click here and view the webcast. Windows Media Player is required.

Dr. Gabbin, Val Gray Ward, Nikki Giovanni, Lisa Winn

Click here to see details about the concertClick here to learn about the webcastClick here to find resources on Nikki Giovanni for your classroomClick here to view photographs from the concert


Nikki Giovanni Booksigning

Ms. Giovanni will be signing books at Barnes & Noble at Harrisonburg Crossing on Sunday, February 26, at 3 p.m.

Barnes & Noble is located at 289 Burgess Rd., Harrisonburg, VA, 22801.

For more information or directions to the store, call 540-432-3801.


We are excited to celebrate the release of Furious Flower II, published by California Newsreel and produced by Judith McCray.  The DVD features interviews and performances of poetry at the 2004 Furious Flower Poetry Conference.  To find out more about the DVD and how to order a copy for your school’s library, please follow this link.


This evening Dr. Gabbin was honored at a Homecoming Gala for her years of teaching at James Madison University.  She received this year’s Distinguished Faculty Award.


Today we celebrated the release of Furious Flower II with a DVD preview party in the Allegheny Room at the Festival Center here at James Madison University.


Dr. Gabbin was inducted into Chicago State University’s International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.