2004 Furious Flower Program


Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Pre-Conference Program

1:00  p.m. -- 5:00 p.m.     Registration-- College Center Lobby
1:00  p.m. -- 5:00 p.m.     Exhibits-- See Exhibit Locations
6:00 p.m. -- 6:30 p.m.      Buses Leave for Blackfriars Playhouse-- College Center
7:00 p.m.                            Opening Reception-- Blackfriars Playhouse
8:00 p.m.                            The Bard Meets Black and Unknown Bards-- An original production, written and directed by Eric Quander and Daniel Bryant

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Roots and First Fruits

8:00 a.m. -- 6:00 p.m.     Registration-- College Center
8:00 a.m. -- 6:00 p.m.     Exhibits-- See Exhibit Locations
8:00 a.m. -- 8:30 a.m.     Continental Breakfast-- College Center
8:30 a.m. -- 9:15 a.m.     Opening Session-- College Center
                                            Documentary: Furious Flower 1994
                                            Occasion: Joanne Gabbin, James Madison University
                                            Welcome: Douglas T. Brown, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,
                                            James Madison University

9:30 a.m. -- 11:30 a.m.     Critics' Roundtable-- College Center Ballroom

    Trudier Harris, Chair; Tony Bolden, Maryemma Graham, Hilary Holladay
11:45 a.m. -- 12:45 p.m.   Luncheon-- George Moses Horton Society, Hosting
    Speakers: T.J. Anderson and Yusef Komunyakaa
1:15 p.m. -- 1:45 p.m.     Keynote Address-- Wilson Hall Auditorium
    Houston A. Baker, Jr.
    Introduction by Trudier Harris
2:00 p.m. -- 4:00 p.m.     Poetry Reading-- Wilson Hall Auditorium
    Jabari Asim, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Tony Medina, Opal Moore, Sharan Strange
4:30 p.m. -- 5:45 p.m.     Concurrent Sessions
The BAM in the Deep Southern Region-- Taylor Hall Room 404
    Chair: Quo Vadis Gex Breaux, New Orleans, Louisiana
    Violet Harrington Bryan, Xavier University of Louisiana
    African American Women Poets of Blkartsouth

    Kalamu ya Salaam,
    New Orelans, Louisians
    Free Southern Theatre, Blkartsouth, Congo Square Writers' Groups

    Jerry W. Ward, Jr.,
    Dillard University
    Mississippi During the Black Arts Movement
 The Beat Goes On-- Taylor Hall Room 306
    Chair: Carmen Gillespie, University of Toledo

    Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Pennsylvania State University
    This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen: Bob Kaufman's "Capital Punishment"

    Mona Lisa Saloy,
    Dillard University
    Black Beat Poet Bob Kaufman: Singing Jazz Into Poetry

    Lesley Wheeler,
    Washington and Lee University
    "Ain't You Heard?": Voice in Langston' Hughes' Montage of a Dream Deferred

Flowers from Margaret Walker's Garden
-- Taylor Hall Room 405
    Chair: Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Duke University

    Maryemma Graham, University of Kansas
    Speaking of the Dead: Newly Discovered Poems by Margaret Walker

    Rudolph I. Klein,
    Jazzhead Records, New York, New York
    Music for My People: Song Cycle Containing the Poetry of Margaret Walker and Others

Honoring Our Own Traditions-- Taylor Hall Room 302

    Chair: Nikitah Imani, James Madison University

    Tony Bolden, University of Alabama
    The Ghetto Code: Gil Scott-Heron as Vernacular Theorist

    Hazel Arnett Ervin,
    Morehouse College
    But, Why, Teacher Must We Study Stephen E. Henderson?

    Marina Fedosik,
    University of Delaware
    Creative Gumbo: Ishmael Reed's Poetry as a Testimony of his Aesthetic

Legacy of a Furious Flower: Gwendolyn Brooks's Poetry
-- Taylor Hall Room 302
    Chair: Laurie Kutchins, James Madison University

    Annette Debo, Western Carolina University
    Signifying Africa: Gwnedolyn Brooks's Later Poetry

    Reggie Young,
    University of Louisiana at Lafayette
    Gwendolyn Brooks' Satin Legs Smith: The Secular Rites and Blues Revivals of a Bronzeville Native Son

The Lyrical Tradition-- Taylor Hall Room 305
    Chair: Jacqueline Brice-Finch, Benedict College
    Chezia Thompson Cager, Maryland Institute College of Art
    The Sound of the Lyric: The Poetry of Jean Toomer's 1923 'Cane' and the Poetry of Naomi Long Madgett, Mari Evans, Alvin Aubert, and Lorenzo Thomas as the Negro Vanguard

    Kendra L. Fullwood,
    University of Delaware
    The African American Rhetorical Tradition in 'God's Trombones'

    Sandra Y. Govan,
    University of North Carolina at Charlotte
    Gwendolyn Bennett: The Lyric Poet of the Harlem Renaissance

The Self in Perspective
-- Taylor Hall Room 304
    Chair: Cynthia Callahan, James Madison University

    Lenett Nef'faahtiti (Allen) Myrick, Poet
    Folk Traditions of Courtship and Marriage in Early African American Poetry of the Enslavement Era

    Jon Woodson,
    Howard University
    Issues of Self-fashioning in 20th Century African American Poetry

Dinner on Your Own

6:45 p.m. -- 7:30 p.m.     Art Opening & Reception-- Taylor Hall Room 405

8:00 p.m. -- 10:30 p.m.   Poetry Reading-- Wilson Hall Auditorium

    Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, E. Ethelbert Miller, Brenda Marie Osbey, Kevin Young

Friday, September 24, 2004
Cross-Pollination and the Diaspora

8:00 a.m. -- 6:00 p.m.     Registration-- College Center Lobby
8:00 a.m. -- 6:00 p.m.     Exhibits-- See Exhibit Locations
8:00 a.m. -- 8:30 a.m.     Continental Breakfast-- College Center Lobby
8:00 a.m. -- 9:15 a.m.     Concurrent Sessions

Making Political and Aesthetic Connections-- College Center Conference Room 1

    Chair: Tara Green, Northern Arizona University

    Julia Galbus, University of Southern Indiana
    What Does the E Stand For?

    Matilde Raquel Holte,
    Howard University
    La Poesía Afro-Latina y Sefardí a la Búsquenda de las Raíces

    G. Matthew Jenkins,
    University of Tulsa
    Who is the "American" in "African American"?: The Poetry of Mark McMorris

Greening the Universe: The Poetry of Sonia Sanchez and Lucille Clifton
-- College Center Conference Room 2
    Chair: Michelle Smith-Bermiss, James Madison University

    Christian A Campbell, University of Oxford
    Glossolablia: Sonia Sanchez's Sounding of "Middle Passage"

    Angela DiPace,
    Sacred Heart University
    "Report from the Angel of Eden": Lucille Clifton's Poetry (1987-2000)

Seeding the Diaspora-- College Center Conference Room 3
    Chair: Reggie Young, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

    Tara Betts, Indepedent Scholar, Chicago, Illinois
    Not the Master's Tools: Forms by People of Color

    Camille Dungy,
    Randolph-Macon Woman's College
    Write, Rewrite and Root: Millenial Poets (Re)create

    Monifa Love,
    Morgan State University
    Of Me/We/Thee I sing: The Anthems of Our 21st Century Being

Songs for a New Century-- College Center Conference Room 4
    Chair: Fahamisha Patricia Brown, College of Staten Island, CUNY

    Shani Jamila, Silver Spring, Maryland
    Poetry and Identity in the Diaspora

    Kamau Kemayo,
    University City, Missouri
    Adinkra Poetry in West Africa and the U.S.

For My People: Spirituality and Race in African American Poetry-- College Center Conference Room 5
    Chair: Loretta G. Woodard, Marygrove College

    Meta DuEwa Jones, George Washington University
    The My in For My People: Race, Gender, Spirituality and Possession in Margaret Walker and Elizabeth Alexander

    Keith Leonard,
    American University
    The Story: Uniting Experience, History and Community in Lucille Clifton's 'Quilting'

    Yolanda Pierce,
    University of Kentucky
    Race, Spirituality, and Black Feminist Poetics

 9:00 a.m. -- 1:00 p.m.     Chocolate Chips Theatre-- Taylor Hall Room 405
                                             Young People's Poetry Writing Workshop

9:30 a.m. -- 11:30 a.m.     Critics' Roundtable-- College Center Ballroom

    Daryl C. Dance, Chair, Omékongo Dibinga, Velma Pollard, Mark Sanders Eleanor Traylor

Lunch on Your Own

1:30 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m.     Laureates' Circle-- Wilson Hall Auditorium

    Amiri Baraka, Rita Dove, Dolores Kendrick, Eugene Redmond, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Touré
3:30 p.m. -- 5:30 p.m.     Poetry Reading-- Wilson Hall Auditorium
    Alvin Aubert, Nikky Finney, Everett Hoagland, jessica Care moore, Harryette Mullen, Kalamu ya Salaam

7:30 p.m. -- 10:00 p.m.   Tribute Banquet-- College Center Ballroom

    Music by D.J. Renegade

    Lifetime Achievement Awards
    Presenters: Melba Boyd, William "Billy Joe" Harris, Hilary Holladay, Sandra Govan, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Daryl Dance, Howard Rambsy, Omékongo Dibinga, Eleanor Traylor
10:30 p.m. -- 1:00 a.m.     Poetry Jam-- College Center Ballroom
    Joel Dias-Porter, Moderator, Quo Vadis Gex Breaux, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Lenard Moore, Rohan Preston, Angela Shannon, Queen Sheba, Lamont Steptoe, Samantha Thornhill

Saturday, September 25, 2004
Blooming in the Whirlwind

8:00 a.m. -- 6:00 p.m.     Registration-- Phillips Center Lobby
8:00 a.m. -- 6:00 p.m.     Exhibits-- See Exhibit Locations
8:00 a.m. -- 8:30 a.m.     Continental Breakfast-- Phillips Center Lobby
8:00 a.m. -- 9:15 a.m.     Concurrent Sessions

Black Arts Aesthetics-- Taylor Hall Room 404

    Chair:Kamau Kameyo, University City, Missouri

    Regina Jennings, Rutgers University
    Poetry of the Black Panther Party: Metaphors of Militancy

    Useni Eugene Perkins,
    Chicago State University
    Literature of Combat: Poetry of the African Liberation Movement

    Cherise A. Pollard,
    West Chester University
    "Cry Brutal Nation": Voice and the Political Imagination in Cornelius Eady's 'Brutal Imagination'

    Julius E. Thompson,
    University of Missouri-Columbia
    The Work of Fifty African American Poets on the Life and Career of Malcolm X (1925-1965)

Critical Frames-- Taylor Hall Room 305
    Chair: Corrie Claiborne, Claflin University

    Reginald Harris, Enoch Pratt Free Public Library
    Black Wired: African American Poetry and Cyberspace

    Angela Kinamore,
    African American Poetry: Moving Forward

    Howard Rambsy II,
    Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
    "Sound Is What We Deal In": Black Poetry and Literacies of Music

    Jerry W. Ward, Jr., Dillard University
    Uncertainty: Creative Disruptions and the Tradition

Cutting the Edge ~ Experimental Poetics of Black Culture-- Taylor Hall Room 306
    Chair: Lesley Wheeler, Washington and Lee University

    Duriel E. Harris, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Soul in the Hole: The Underground Railroad of Diasporic Funk

    Dawn Lundy Martin,
    University of Massachusetts
    Uncomfortable Speech: Raciaility in Postmodern American Poetry

    Mendi Lewis Obadike,
    Wesleyan University
    Hear My Train A'comin': An Acoustemology of Blackness and Space

    Ronaldo V. Wilson
    , The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
    Juice, Blubber and Blacks: A Poetics of the Black Body in Poetry and Visual Art

Who's Zoomin' Who?: Deconstructing the White Critical Gaze-- Taylor Hall Room 400
    Chair: Susan Facknitz, James Madison University

    Herman Beavers, University of Pennsylvania
    The Waters of Oblivion: Local Aesthetics and the Poetics of Chaos

    Honorée Jeffers,
    University of Oklahoma
    Afro-Modernism and the Hybrid Lyric: The Migration of the Blues Poetic

    James Richardson,
    Morehouse College
    The White Critical Gaze and the Black Poetic Subject

9:30 a.m.-- 11:30 a.m. Critics' Roundtable-- Grafton Stovall Theater
    Opal Moore, Chair, Toi Derricotte, Kelli Norman Ellis, E. Ethelbert Miller, Sharan Strange

12:00 p.m.-- 1:00 p.m. Luncheon-- Phillips Center Ballroom
Cave Canem Reunion

1:30 p.m.-- 3:00 p.m. Open Mic-- Grafton Stovall Theater
Tyehimba Jess, Emcee

3:30 p.m.-- 5:30 p.m. Cave Canem Reunion Reading
    Elizabeth Alexander, Kwame Dawes, Toi Derricotte, Cornelius Eady, Marilyn Nelson

Dinner on Your Own

8:00 p.m.--10:30 p.m. Conference Finale-- Wilson Hall Auditorium
    Fertile Ground
    Full Moon of Sonia

About the Organizer

Joanne V. Gabbin
is professor of English at James Madison University where she directs the university's Honors Program and the Furious Flower Poetry Center. She is author of Sterling A. Brown: Building the Black Aesthetic Tradition, and she edited Furious Flower: African American Poetry from the Black Arts Movement to the Present and The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry. She is executive producer of Furious Flower: The First Video Anthology of African American Poetry. Gabbin has published essays and articles in Wild Women in the Whirlwind, Southern Women Writers: The New Generation, The Dictionary of Literary Biographhy, The Zora Neale Hurston Forum, The Langston Hughes Journal, Callaloo, and Black Books Bulletin. Gabbin has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship including the Outstanding Performance Recognition Award of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Wintergreen Women Writers' Collective Award, the George E. Kent Literary Achievement Award, the African American Image Awards Most Supportive Faculty Member Award, the College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award, the JMU Faculty Women's Caucus and Women's Resource Network Award for Scholarship, and the Outstanding Faculty Award, Virginia State Council of Higher Education. She is founder of the Wintergreen Women Writers' Collective and the owner of the 150 Franklin Street Gallery.

    In Memoriam

    Nat Adderly
    Gwendolyn Brooks
    Ray Charles
    Barbara Christian
    Milt Jackson
    Ted Joans
    June Jordan
    Curtis Mayfield
    Ron Milner
    Raymond Patterson
    Dudley Randall
    Nina Simone
    Claudia Tate
    Margaret Walker
    Sherley Anne Williams

 Conference Presenters

Elizabeth Alexander | T.J. Anderson | Jabari Asim | Houston A. Baker, Jr. | Amiri Baraka | Herman Beavers | Tara Betts | Nora Brooks Blakely | Tony Bolden | Keisha Watson Bowman | Melba Boyd | Jacqueline Brice-Finch | Fahamisha Patricia Brown | Violet Harrington Bryan | Daniel Bryant | Cynthia Callahan | Christian A. Campbell | Chezia Thompson Cager | Corrie Claiborne | Lucille Clifton | Daryl Dance | Kwame Dawes | Annette Debo | Toi Derricotte | Omékongo Dibinga | Angela DiPace | Rita Dove | Camille Dungy | Cornelius Eady | Kelly Norman Ellis | Thomas Sayers Ellis | Hazel Arnett Ervin | Susan Facknitz | Malaika Favorite | Marina Fedosik | Nikky Finney | Kendra L. Fullwood | Joanne Gabbin | Julia Falbus | Quo Vadis Gex Breaux | Carmen Gillespie | Nikki Giovanni | Sandra Y. Govan | Maryemma Graham | Tara Green | Duriel E. Harris | Reginald Harris | Trudier Harris | William "Billy Joe" Harris | Everett Hoagland | Hilary Holladay | Matilde Raquel Holte | Fred Hord | Thomas Houchens | Nikitah Imani | Major Jackson | Shani Jamila | Honorée Jeffers | Regina Jennings | Tyehimba Jess | Meta DuEwa Jones | Kamau Kemayo | Dolores Kendrick | Angela Kinamore | Randolph I. Klein | Yusef Komunyakaa | Laurie Kutchins | Quraysh Ali Lansana | Keith Leonard | Monifa Love | Naomi Long Madgett | Haki Madhubuti | Dawn Lundy Martin | Tonya Matthews | Tony Medina | E. Ethelbert Miller | Kamilah Aisha Moon | jessica Care moore | Lenard Moore | Opal Moore | Harryette Mullen | Lenett Nef'faahiti Myrick | Marilyn Nelson | Aldon Lynn Nielsen | Mendi Lewis Obadike | Brenda Marie Osbey | Useni Eugene Perkins | Charlotte Pierce-Baker | Yolanda Pierce | Hermine Pinson | Cherise A. Pollard | Velma Pollard | Joel Dias-Porter | Rohan Preston | Eric Quander | Howard Rambsy | Eugene Redmond | James Richardson | Linwood Rose | Kalamu ya Salaam | Mona Lisa Saloy | Sonia Sanchez | Mark Sanders | Angela Shannon | Queen Sheba | Evie Shockley | Michelle Smith-Bermiss | Lamont Steptoe | Sharan Strange | Julius E. Thompson | Samantha Thornhill | Askia Touré | Eleanor Traylor | Jerry W. Ward, Jr. | Lesley Wheeler | Tyrone Williams | Ronaldo V. Wilson | Loretta G. Woodard | Jon Woodson | Kevin Young | Reggie Young

Biographies of Participants

Jabari Asim
is senior editor of Washington Post Book World. He wrote a book review column that appeared weekly in the "Style" section of the Post for two years. In 2003 Asim launched his nationally syndicated op-ed column. In addition to writing the column, Asim works as a senior editor for the Post's "Book World" section, editing and assigning reviews and helping to plan coverage of literary matters. His responsibilities include fiction, poetry, and children's books. Asim is an accomplished poet, playwright, and fiction writer and was the only writer to have both poetry and fiction included in In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers. Asim most recently edited Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on the Law, Justice and Life. He is also the author of The Road to Freedom, a novel for young adults.

Elizabeth Alexander
is the author of three books of poems, The Venus Hottentot, Body of Life, and Antebellum Dream Book. Her collection of essays on African American poetry, painting and popular culture, The Black Interior, was published in 2004. Her poems, short stories, and critical prose have been widely published in such journals as Signs, American Literary History, Callaloo, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Village Voice, The Women's Review of Books, and in many anthologies. Her verse play, Diva Studies, was produced at the Yale School of Drama in May 1996. Alexander has taught at the University of Chicago, where she won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, New York University's Graduate Creative Writing Program, and Smith College, where she was Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence, first director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, and member of the founding editorial collective for the feminist journal Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism. She teaches courses on African American poetry, drama, and 20th century literature at Yale University.

Alvin Aubert
has taught at his alma mater, Southern University, the University of Oregon, the State University of New York, and Wayne State University, where he is professor emeritus of English. He founded the literary journal Obsidian, now Obsidian III, and received the first of two National Endowment for the Arts awards for his poetry while at SUNY. He has received the Callaloo Award for his contribution to African American cultural expression, the YMCA's National Writer's Voice Award, and the Xavier University of Louisiana's Activist for the Humanities Award. His poems, articles, and reviews have appeared in literary magazines and several anthologies. If Winter Come: Dollected Poems 1967-1994 includes new poems along with those from three earlier collections: Against the Blues, Feeling Through, and South Louisiana. His latest collection is Harlem Wrestler. His play, Home from Harlem, an adaptation of Dunbar's Sport of the Gods, was staged at Wayne State's Bonstelle Theatre in 1986. Aubert has served as advisory editor to literary magazines and on grants panels for New York's Creative Artist Public Service Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Coordinating Council for Literary Magazines, and on the Kentucky, Ohio and City of Detroit arts councils.

Houston A. Baker, Jr.
is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. He received his B.A. from Howard University and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA. He has taught at Yale, the University of Virginia, and the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he is the Susan Fox and George D. Beischer Professor of English at Duke University. He is the editor of American Literature, the oldest and most prestigious journal in American literary studies. Baker has published or edited more than twenty books. He is the author of more than eighty articles, essays, and reviews. His most recent books include Turning South Again: Re-Thinking Modernism, Re-Reading Booker T and Critical Memory: Public Spheres, African American Writing and Black Fathers and Sons in America. He is a published poet whose most recent title is Passing Over. In 1992 Baker was President of the Modern Language Association of America. His honors include Guggenheim, John Hay Whitney, and Rockefeller Fellowships, as well as eleven honorary degrees from American colleges and universities.

Amiri Baraka
published his first volume of poetry, Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note, in 1961. He followed with more than twenty books of poetry, the two most recent being The Essence of Reparations and Somebody Blew Up America and Other Poems. His play, Dutchman, won an Obie Award and was made into a film. Baraka's numerous literary prizes and honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, the Langston Hughes Award from the City College of New York, and a lifetime achievement award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He has taught poetry at the New School for Social Research in New York, literature at the University of Buffalo, and drama at Columbia University. He has also taught at San Francisco State University, Yale University, and George Washington University. Since 1985 he has been professor of Africana studies at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. He is co-director, with his wife, of Kimako's Blues People, a community arts space.

Tony Bolden
is assistant professor of English at the University of Alabama. Bolden received his Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University in 1998. His dissertation, All Blues, examined the role of literature in cultural politics and analyzed formal relationships between poetry and various aspects of the black oral tradition including blues, jazz, folk poetry, and black English. Bolden was awarded the M.A. in Afro-American Studies from the University of Iowa. He was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for Teachers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Bolden has written articles and reviews for The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States and Eighteenth Century Current Bibliography. He is the author of Afro-Blue: Improvisations in African American Poetry and Culture.

Lucille Clifton
is the Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1975-1985 and has received many fellowships and awards for her poetry collections and children's books, including the Shelley Memorial Prize, a Charity Randall Citation, and Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, selection as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library, and a Lannan Achievement Award in Poetry. Her work has also earned her recognition as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Clifton has published ten collections of poetry, nineteen children's books, and an autobiographical prose work. The Terrible Stories was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Lenore Marshall Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Clifton is a 1999 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award recipient. She serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets and was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her newest books are Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems and Mercy.

Daryl Cumber Dance
is professor of English at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. She has also taught at Virginia State College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is the author of Shuckin' and Jivin': Folklore from Contemporary Black Americans, Folklore from Contemporary Jamaicans, Long Gone: The Mecklenburg Six and the Theme of Escape in Black Folklore, New World Adams: Conversations with Contemporary West Indian Writers, and The Lineage of Abraham: The Biography of a Free Black Family in Charles City, Virginia. She edited Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical and Critical Sourcebook, Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor, and From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore (An Anthology).

Kwame Dawes
has published eight collections of poetry including Progeny of Air, winner of the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, Resisting the Anomie, Prophets, Jacko Jacobus, Requiem, and Shook Foil, a collection of reggae-inspired poems. His most recent collection, Midland, was recently awarded the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize by the Ohio University Press. Dawes received the Pushcart Prize for the best American poetry of 2001. Dawes' poetry has appeared in such journals as the London Review of Books, Bomb Magazine, Doubletake Magazine, Poetry Review, Obsidian III, Callaloo, Shenandoah, the Mississippi Review, Caribbean Writer, and Poetry London. He is an actor, playwright and producer and professor in English at the University of South Carolina where he is Distinguished Poet in Residence and director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative.

Toi Derricotte,
professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, has published four books of poems, The Empress of the Death House, Natural Birth, Captivity, and Tender, winner of the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize, and a memoir, The Black Notebooks. The Black Notebooks was recipient of the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Nonfiction Award, and was nominated for the PEN Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. It was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Derricotte has won numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two Pushcart Prizes. She is the co-founder of Cave Canem, the historic first workshop and retreat for African American poets. Sharon Olds says of her, "This is one of the most beautiful and necessary voices in American poetry today."

Rita Dove
was Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, and the 1995 National Humanities Medal. She has published the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner, Museum, Thomas and Beulah, Grace Notes, Selected Poems, Mother Love, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, a book of short stories, Fifth Sunday, the novel Through the Ivory Gate, essays under the title The Poet's World and the play The Darker Face of the Earth, which was produced at several theatres, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the Royal National Theatre in London. She edited Best American Poetry 2000 and from January 2000 to January 2002 she wrote a weekly column "Poet's Choice" for The Washington Post. Her latest book of poems is American Smooth. Dove is the Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Cornelius Eady
is the author of six books of poetry: Kartunes, Victims of The Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, The Gathering of My Name, nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, You don't Miss Your Water, The Autobiography of a Jukebox, and Brutal Imagination, a National Book Award finalist. He is co-founder of Cave Canem, a summer workshop and retreat for African American poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Traveling Scholarship, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award. His work appears in many journals, magazines, and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry (1750-2000). In June 1997, an adaptation of You Don't Miss Your Water was performed at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City. In April 1999, Running Man, a music-theatre piece co-written with jazz musician Diedre Murray, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and awarded a 1999 Obie for best musical score and lead actor in a musical.

Kelly Norman Ellis
is assistant professor of English at Chicago State University where she teaches creative writing, African American literature, and women's literature. Ellis is also the associate director of the MFA program in creative writing at Chicago State. She is a poet whose work has appeared in the anthologies Sisterfire, Spirit and Flame, Eclipsing a Nappy New Millennium, Boom Girls, Role Call, and the upcoming New Sister Voices to be published by Southern Illinois University Press. Her work has also appeared in Calyx, Obsidian II, Bright Leaf Magazine, The Toni Morrison Encyclopedia, and Gwendolyn Brooks' Maud Martha: An Edited Edition. Ellis has taught writing at Middle Tennessee State University, Kentucky State University, the University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts. She is a founding member of Affrilachian Poets, a band of traveling writers of color who share roots in the deep South and Appalachia. Ellis is author of Tougaloo Blues, a collection of poetry about coming of age in Mississippi during the 1970's.

Thomas Sayers Ellis
is assistant professor of English at Case Western Reserve University. His research interests are creative writing, poetry, and African American literature. Ellis is the author of The Good Junk and On the Verge: Emerging Poets and Artists, as well as The Genuine Negro Hero, scheduled for release in 2005. Ellis co-founded the Dark Room Collective, a reading series for African American writers in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to his literary pursuits, Ellis has worked on the set of Glory and was Spike Lee's teaching assistant for two years at Harvard. Ellis received the Carl F. Wittke Award for Undergraduate Teaching at Case Western Reserve University in 2000.

Nikky Finney
is associate professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky. She published her first book of poems in 1985, On Wings Made of Gauze. Her other books include The World is Round, Heartwood, and Rice. She is widely published in anthologies and journals including Meridians: feminism, race, transationalism, Role Call, The Bluelight Corner, Spirit and Flame, and Chain, Chain, Change. Finney has received the Pen American Open Book Award, the Kentucky Foundation for Women Artists Fellowship Award, the Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Fellowship, and the Kentucky Arts Council Artist's Fellowship Award.

Nikki Giovanni
is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. She has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children's books, and three collections of essays. Her book Racism 101 includes bold, controversial essays about the situation of Americans on all sides of various race issues. She has received 21 honorary doctorates and a host of other awards, including "Woman of the Year" awards from three different magazines as well as Governors' Awards in the Arts from both Tennessee and Virginia. Her three most recent volumes of poetry, Love Poems, Blues: For All the Change, and Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, were winners of the NAACP Image Award, in 1998, 2000 and 2003. The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, a spoken-word CD, was a finalist for the 2003 Grammy Award in the category of spoken word. Giovanni teaches writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor.

Maryemma Graham
is professor of English at the University of Kansas. Her interests include African American and 19th century American literature, the history of the book, and cultural studies. She is the author of eight books including Conversations with Margaret Walker and Conversations with Ralph Ellison. Graham has a work in progress, The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker. Graham was a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University. She is co-founder of the Richard Wright Circle and founder and director of The Project on the History of Black Writing and of the Langston Hughes National Poetry Project. Graham is president-elect of the Toni Morrison society.

Trudier Harris
is the J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of eight books, including Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South and Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature and has edited and co-edited more than 14 books. She is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching and scholarship, including the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority's Education Award for excellence in teaching and learning, the Eugene Current-Garcia Award, Alabama's Distinguished Literary Scholar, the Brown-Hudson Folklore Award, given by the North Carolina Folklore Society, and a National Humanities Center Fellowship. Harris has lectured throughout the United States, as well as in Poland, Germany, France, Canada, Jamaica, Spain, Italy, England and Northern Ireland. She is a columnist for The Chapel Hill News and the president of the George Moses Horton Society for the Study of African American Poetry. Harris has two books in progress: Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Legacy in African American Literature and The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Women Writers and the South.

Everett Hoagland
is professor emeritus of English at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth where he taught African American literature and poetry workshops for thirty years. He was Poet Laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts from 1994-1998. His books of poetry include This City and Other Poems, Black Velvet, Scrimshaw, and Ten Poems: A Collection. His most recent book is …HERE… New & Selected Poems. Hoagland's poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, The Crisis, Cross Cultural Poetics, Long Shot, The Progressive, and the Unitarian Universalist World. Hoagland's poems are anthologized in Furious Flower, African American Literature, The Best American Poetry of 2002, bum rush the page: a def poetry jam, and The Body Electric. His poem, "Just Words," about Frederick Douglass's escape from slavery was scored as Symphony of Just Words by avant-garde composer Andrew Jackson McWain and premiered in New Bedford.

Hilary Holladay
is professor of English and the director of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is the author of wild Blessings: The Poetry of Lucille Clifton and Ann Petry and co-editor, with Hazel Arnett Ervin, of Ann Petry's Short Fiction: Critical Essays. Her other publications include a poetry chapbook, Baptism in the Merrimack. Holladay is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she received a Ph.D. She is founding director of University of Massachusetts Lowell's Jack Kerouac Conference on Beat Literature. Holladay's current research project is a biography of the Beat Movement icon Herbert Huncke.

Fred Hord
is professor of Black studies at Knox College. His research interests are in the areas of Black studies theory, African American literary criticism, Black psychology traditions, and the status of Blacks in Latin America. He has one book of poetry, Africa to Me and a second, The Rhythm of Home: Selected Poems forthcoming. Hord is founder and President of the Association for Black Culture Centers, a member of the board of the Illinois Committee for Black Concerns in Higher Education, and a member of the board of the National Council for Black Studies.

Major Jackson
won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize in 2000 for his first book of poetry, Leaving Saturn, which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Callaloo, and The New Yorker. Jackson has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His honors include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and a Whiting Writers' Award. Jackson is associate professor of English at the University of Vermont, a member of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina, and a Witter Bynner Fellow for the Library of Congress.

Dolores Kendrick
is Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia, only the second person honored with the title. She is the author of the award winning poetry book The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women, which was adapted for the stage and produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The adaptation won the New York New Playwrights Award. Kendrick's other books include Through the Ceiling and Now is the Thing to Praise. The Library of Congress has recorded her poetry for its Contemporary Poets series and her CD, The Color of Dusk, was critically acclaimed nationally. She has received numerous awards and honors including a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the George Kent Award for Literature, the Anisfield-Wolf Award, two Yaddo Fellowships, and a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship. Her new book, Why the Woman is Singing on the Corner, was selected by poet and critic Grace Cavalieri as one of the five best books of poetry in 2001. Kendrick is one of the original designers and teachers at the School Without Walls in Washington, D.C.

Yusef Komunyakaa
has authored numerous books of poems including Pleasure Dome: New & Collected Poems, Talking Dirty to the Gods, Thieves of Paradise, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Mighty City. Dien Cai Dau, which won the Dark Room Poetry Prize, I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head, winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Award, and Copacetic (1984). Komunyakaa's prose is collected in Blues Notes: Essays, Interviews & Commentaries. He also co-edited The Jazz Poetry Anthology and co-translated The Insomnia of Fire by Nguyen Quang Thieu. His honors include the William Faulkner Prize from the Université de Rennes, the Thomas Forcade Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, where he served as a correspondent and managing editor of the Southern Cross. In 1999 he was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Yusef is a professor of poetry at Princeton University.

Quraysh Ali Lansana
is the author of They Shall Run— Harriet Tubman Poems and the poetry collection Southside Rain, a children's book, The Big World and a poetry chapbook, Cockroach Children: Corner Poems and Street Psalms. He is the editor of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill's African-American Literature Reader and I Represent and Dream in Yourself, two anthologies of literary works from Chicago's youth arts employment program, Gallery 37. Passage, his poetry video collaboration with Kurt Heintz, won the first Image Union/Bob Award from WTTW-TV (PBS). He is the recipient of the Chicago Black Book Fair Poet of the Year Award, the Henry Blakely Award, and the Wallace W. Douglas Distinguised Service Award. Lansana is director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing and assistant professor of English and creative writing at Chicago State University.

Naomi Long Madgett
, Poet Laureate of Detroit, is author of eight collections of poetry, the first pubilshed when she was seventeen years old. One of the most recent, Octavia: Guthrie and Beyond, a reprint of the title poem of Octavia and Other Poems, is required reading in Detroit's public schools. A documentary film, A Poet's Voice, based on Octavia, which combines her reading and discussion of the poems with music, old photographs, and ten visual artists' interpretations of the poems, won a Gold Apple Award for Excellence from the National Educational Media Network. Madgett's work has earned her many honors including an American Book Award, a Michigan Artist Award, an Alain Locke Award, a George Kent Award, a Creative Achievement Award, Lifetime Achievement awards from the Furious Flower Poetry Center and the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing, induction into the National Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent, and the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. In 1993 Lotus Press established the annual Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award to recognize and publish an outstanding manuscript by an African American. She is professor emeritus at Eastern Michigan University and founder of Lotus Press.

Haki Madhubuti
is an award winning poet, publisher, editor, and educator. He has been a pivotal figure in the development of a strong black literary tradition, emerging from the era of the sixties and continuing to the present. He has published twenty-four books and is one of the world's best-selling authors of poetry and nonfiction. Selected titles include Claiming Earth: Race, Rage, Rape, Redemption, GroundWord: New and Selected Poems 1966-1996, HeartLove: Wedding and Love Poems, and Tough Notes: A Healing Call For Creating Exceptional Black Men. His most recent book of poetry is Run Toward Fear: New Poems and a Poet's Handbook. Madhubuti is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, and Illinois Arts Council Awards. In 1991 he received an American Book Award and was named Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. Among his other many honors are the Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Poets Award and Paul Robeson Award.

Tony Medina
is the author of eleven books, including No Noose Is Good Noose, DeShawn Days, Love to Langston, bum rush the page: a def poetry jam, and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature & Art. His poetry, fiction, and essays appear in over twenty anthologies and two CD compilations. A Harlem resident, Medina has taught English at several prestigious universities and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in poetry and American and African American Literature from Binghamton University.

E. Ethelbert Miller
is the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. His most recent book is How We Sleep On The Nights We Don't Make Love. Miller's memoir, Fathering Words, was selected by the District of Columbia Public Library for it's D.C. WE Read project in 2003. In 2001 he was one of sixty American authors honored by First Lady Laura Bush at the First National Book Festival. Mr. Miller was honored again at the Third National Book Festival in 2003. In 2004 he received a Fulbright award to visit Israel.

Kamilah Aisha Moon
is a Cave Canem alumna and a Paumanok Award semi-finalist. Her work has been featured in Mosaic, The Black Arts Quarterly, Phoenix, bum rush the page: a def poetry jam, Warpland, The Hoot and Holler of the Owls, Toward the Livable City, and Cave Canem VIII. Moon entered the MFA in creative writing program at Sarah Lawrence College this fall.

jessica Care moore
is one of the most anticipated published poets of this generation. Her It's Showtime performance at the Apollo Theater swept the audience off their feet and won her a record five consecutive weeks. Moore is a multifaceted writer, publisher, and actor. She authored the best-selling The Words Don't Fit In My Mouth and the play, There Are No Asylums for the Real Crazy Women. moore's most recent book is The Alphabet Verses the Ghetto. moore is an advocate of literacy and reading and is the architect of Moore Black Press's Literacy Through Hip Hop Campaign.

Lenard Moore
is the founder and executive director of the Carolina African American Writers' Collective, the co-founder of the Washington Street Writers Group, and the executive chairman of the North Carolina Haiku Society. His books of poetry include Desert Storm: A Brief History, Forever Home, and The Open Eye. Moore has performed his poetry with jazz bands in New York, Ohio, and North Carolina. His honors include the Haiku Museum of Toyko award, Indies Arts Award, Margaret Walker Creative Writing Award, Tar Heel of the Week Award and the Alumni Achievement Award from Shaw University.

Opal Moore
is chair and associate professor of English at Spelman College. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Callaloo, Connecticut Review, Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor, and Homeplaces: Stories of the South by Women Writers. Moore's first collection of poems was Lot's Daughters, and she is currently completing a new series of poems, Children of Middle Passage, written in collaboration with visual and performance artist, Arturo Lindsay. Moore is a Fulbright Scholar, Cave Canem alumna, and Bellagio Fellow.

Harryette Mullen
is the author of six poetry books: Tree Tall Woman, Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, Muse & Drudge, Blues Baby, and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for the National Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, including the latest addition of the Norton Anthology. Mullen has taught at Cornell University and currently has a joint appointment in English and African American Studies at UCLA. Mullen's family roots are in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Texas. One of her African American ancestors, a Union soldier, was at Appomattox when Lee surrendered to Grant.

Marilyn Nelson
authored For the Body, Mama's Promises, The Homeplace, Magnificat, The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems, and Carver: A Life in Poems. Her honors include two Pushcart Prizes, two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, an A.C.L.S. Contemplative Practices Fellowship, and a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Foundation. The Fields of Praise was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award, the PEN Winship Award, the Lenore Marshall Prize, and it won the 1998 Poets' Prize. Carver won the 2001 National Book Award, The Boston Globe Horn Book Award, was named a Newbery Honor Book, and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and won the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award. Nelson is emeritus professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Poet Laureate of Connecticut, and founder and director of Soul Mountain Retret.

Brenda Marie Osbey
is a native of New Orleans and the author of four collections of poems, including ALL SAINTS: New & Selected Poems, which received the 1998 American Book Award. Osbey has received numerous other fellowships and awards. Most recently she is the recipient of a 2004 Camargo Foundation Fellowship for francophone culture studies and was Writer-in-residence at the Foundation in Cassis, France. She has been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University. Studies of Osbey's work appear in The Oxford Companion to African American Literature (Oxford, 1997), Forms of Expenasion: Recent Long Poems by Women by Lynn Keller (U. Chicago Press, 1997), The Future of Southern Letters, edited by Jefferson Humphries and John Lowe (Oxford, 1996) and others.

Velma Pollard
is a retired senior lecturer in language education at the University of the West Indies at Mona. Her poems and stories have been published in regional and international journals and anthologies. She is the author of a novel, two collections of short fiction, and three books of poetry, Crown Point and Other Poems, Shame Trees Don't Grow Here, and The Greatest Philosophers I Know Can't Read or Write. Her novella, Karl, won the Casa de las Americas prize in 1992.

Eugene Redmond
is the first and only Poel Laureate of East St. Louis. A national and international lecturer, Redmond reaches worldwide audiences with his multicultural messages. In 1999, Redmond was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. His critical history, Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, was published in 1967. He taught at the Experiment in Higher Education, Southern Illinois University-East St. Louis, where his colleagues included Henry Dumas, Joyce Ladner, and Katherine Dunham. He has authored six volumes of poetry and has edited many more. Since 1968 when he became literary executor of the Dumas estate, Redmond has edited several volumes of prose and poetry by the late writer.

Kalamu ya Salaam
has written seven books of poetry: The Blues Merchant, Hofu Ni Kwenu (My Fear Is For You), Pamoja Tutashinda (Together We Will Win) Ibura, Revolutionary Love, Iron Flowers, and A Nation of Poets, two books of essays and three published plays. His awards include numerous Unity Awards in the Media, a George Washington Freedom Foundation Award, two National Federation of Community Broadcaster Silver Reel Awards, the Deep South Writer's Contest Award, and a CAC Regional New Play Competition Award. Salaam is poetry editor for QBR: The Black Book Review, founder and director of the NOMMO Literary Society, a New Orleans-based black writers' workshop, and founder and moderator of e-Drum, an informational listserv for black writers and diverse supporters of literature worldwide. He is the leader of The WordBand, a performance poetry ensemble and produces Crescent City Sounds, a nationally syndicated radio program of New Orleans regional music.

Sonia Sanchez
is the author of more than 16 books including Homecoming, We a BaddDDD People, Love Poems, I've Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems, A Sound Investment and Other Stories, Homegirls and Handgrenades, Under a Soprano Sky, Wounded in the House of a friend, Does Your House Have Lions?, and most recently, Shake Loose My Skin. She is a contributing editor to The Black Scholar and the Journal of African Studies and has edited two anthologies: We Be Word Sorcerers: 25 Stories by Black Americans and 360°of Blackness Coming at You. Sanchez is the recipient of numerous awards including the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstandings Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the 1985 American Book Award for Homegirls and Handgrenades, the Governor's Award for Excellence in Humanities, and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award. Does Your House Have Lions? was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the Poetry Society of America's 2001 Robert Frost Medalist and received an Otto Award in 2001. Her poetry appeared in the movie Love Jones. Sanchez was the first presidential fellow at Temple University, and she held the Laura Carnell Chair in English at Temple University.

Mark Sanders
is associate professor of African American Studies and English at Emory University. He has published two volumes on the poetry and prose of Sterling A. Brown: A Son's Return: Selected Essays of Sterling A. Brown, and Afro-Modernist Aesthetics and the Poetry of Sterling A. Brown. Sanders specializes in the Harlem Renaissance and American modernism. His current research explores the ways in which Harlem Renaissance writers incorporate and develop "mainstream" concepts in modernism, particularly, pragmatism, pluralism, nativism, psychoanalysis, and first-wave feminism. He is also researching artistic and political connections between the Harlem Renaissance and Afro-Cuban writers.

Queen Sheba
is the first internationally known performance poet from Virginia and the founder and CEO of Oya Xclusive, a spoken word recording company in Norfolk, Virginia. She has successfully released three spoken word Cds: I confess..., The Message and The Truth. As a slam champion, Queen headed the 2002 D.C./Baltimore National Slam team as their Grand Slam Champion. She has also belted wins at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe and has taken slam champion titles at Reign Productions, and Baltimore's famous Art Scape summer festival.

Sharan Strange
teaches English and creative writing at Spelman College. She is also a contributing and advisory editor of Callaloo, a journal of African Diaspora arts and letters. Her first book of poetry, Ash, received the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and was published by Beacon Press in 2001. From 1988 to 1998 she was the co-founder and co-curator of The Dark Room Collective and Reading Series, a highly influential forum for emerging and established African American writers that helped nurture and shape a new generation of black writers. Her recent work has appeared in Callaloo and in the South African journal, Agenda. She has also contributed poems to the exhibition "Off the Record" at the Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, and to the catalogue for "Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Kurti" at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

Samantha Thornhill
is coach of the Hampton Roads, Virginia slam team and the managing editor of the University of Virginia's Meridian Magazine. She has toured the U.S. sharing her work with audiences from Duke University students to poetry lovers at the House of Blues in New Orleans. Thornhill is a former Henry Hoyns Fellow and a Cave Canem alumna.

Askia Touré
was a founding architect of the Black Arts Movement, a black aesthetics theorist, and among the first cadre of scholars to pioneer Africana studies at a major U.S. university. As an activist and political theorist, he co-authored Black Power Position Paper limning out a new movement. Touré has served as a co-editor of two black arts journals, Black Dialogue, and the Journal of Black Poetry. He was also a cultural theorist for the Liberator, an internationally focused Pan African magazine. His theoretical essays are published in Black Nationalism in America and recently, African American Mosaic. His poetry volumes are Juju, Songhai!, From the Pyramids to the Projects, and Dawnsong! His poetry has been published internationally, including Paris, Rome, India, and in Peoples Republic of China.

Eleanor Traylor
is professor of English and chair of the Department of English at Howard University. Essayist and critic of African American literature, she has prepared historical and biographical scripts for the Program in Black American Culture of the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, and she has developed and directed the Larry Neal Cultural Series in literature at the African American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia. She is the recipient of The Marcus Garvey Award for community service, the Hazel Joan Bryant Award of the Midwest Black Theatre Alliance, annd the Catholic University of America Alumni Achievement Award in literary criticism.

Kevin Young
is Ruth Lily Professor of Poetry at Indiana University. His first book, Most Way Home, was selected for the National Poetry Series and won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughsares. His second book of poems, To Repel Ghosts was a finalist for the James McLaughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Young's poetry and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Paideuma, Callaloo, Fence, and Verse and have been featured on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." The Village Voice named Young a Writer on the Verge in 2001. Young's latest book of poems, Jelly Roll: A Blues, a new collection of blues-based love poems, was named a finalist in the National Book Award for Poetry and the 2003 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry.