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

  Natalia Bradshaw-Parson

  Furious Flower News
Celebrating the Centennial of Richard Wright: 1908 - 1960
Richard Wright is best known for his fiction, although he published several poems between 1933 and 1938. Wright suffered from amoebic dysentery during the last two years of his life (1959-1960) and turned to writing haiku. During his lifetime he wrote more than 4,000 haiku; 817 of which are collected in Haiku: This Other World. Click here for more information

November 2007
Malaika Favorite showcases newest art collection of Exploration and Wonder.
Ms. Favorite was also commissioned by the Furious Flower Poetry Center to create a series of 24 paintings of African American and Diaspora poets for the Center's 2004 conference held at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

05.21.07 Lucille Clifton Wins the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

Read the press release here. The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is awarded for lifetime achievement in poetry. The Poetry Foundation presents the award annually.

April 2007 Natasha Trethewey wins the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Learn more about the award and Trethewey's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of poems, Native Guard, at the Pulitzer website:

04.10.07 Dr. Gabbin on "With Good Reason" in April

April 23: "With Good Reason" Public Radio Program, 7 p.m., WMRA, 90.7FM: Dr. Joanne Gabbin, executive director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and professor of English at JMU, and Dr. Alexander Gabbin, KPMG Professor of Accounting at JMU, discuss "My Soul is Anchored: Poems from the Mourning Katrina National Writing Project," a CD featuring 28 poems collected from survivors of Hurricane Katrina, a project of the Furious Flower Poetry Center.

This show will air on "With Good Reason" the between April 21-27 across Virginia. Check your local National Public Radio (NPR) listings for date and time. Out of state listeners will be able to download the streaming audio after the broadcast. Check here after April 2007 to hear the April interview.

You can also listen to a "With Good Reason" interview with Dr. Gabbin from October 2004 at


Target Initiates School Program with JMU's Furious Flower
From a Target Corp. news release:

MINNEAPOLIS — "Young women, young men of color, we add our voices to the voices of your ancestors who speak to you over ancient seas and across impossible mountain tops," begins the latest poem by Dr. Maya Angelou, "A Pledge to Rescue Our Youth."
On Jan. 15, Americans will honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s commitment to community service and civic engagement by commemorating his birthday. In tribute to this legacy, Target will sponsor more than a dozen local King Day events across the country and kick off "Dream in Color" — a yearlong campaign to encourage the celebration of diversity and make a real difference in the lives of children through arts and education.

In partnership with Angelou, the Poetry Foundation and The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, Target invites students to enliven their creative voices through its online curriculum at Educators of elementary, junior-high and high-school students will have access to a collection of works from African-American poets — present and past — who inspire us all to continue to dream, including Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes and Kevin Young. Additionally, Target will provide Dream in Color posters to 100,000 schools across the country to further encourage classroom celebrations.

"One way Target celebrates diversity throughout the year is by supporting local organizations that give back and provide opportunities for people of all cultures to come together," said Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target. "Above and beyond that, as part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, we're excited to invite our guests to dream without limits through our online Dream in Color campaign."

Like the Dream in Color campaign, Angelou's "A Pledge" also was written to encourage support for America's youth "with ourselves and our resources" and marks her continued contributions to poetry. In 2004, Angelou published a cook book, "Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes" and, last September, she began hosting a radio show on XM Satellite's Oprah & Friends Network.

"I admire Target for doing this, because we owe it to our young people to help them see they are loved and find the inspiration to raise their voices. I am still inspired every day to find my creative voice, and I challenge all of us to pledge to one another the commitment to rescue our youth," said Angelou. "Encourage them to take life by the lapels and say, 'I'm with you, kid. Let's go.' Then, all their conscious energies will be devoted to the deliberation of the human mind and spirit, beginning with their own. That's what dreaming in color means to me."

A message for all races, "A Pledge" concludes with "[young people] are the best we have. You are all we have. You are what we have become. We pledge to you our whole hearts from this day forward."

For more information about Dream in Color, visit

Continuing its support of the arts in local communities, Target also will host and participate in King Day events throughout the country that recognize the rich history and heritage of African-Americans. Dream in Color audio or video of Angelou will be featured at select King events across the country.


My Soul is Anchored to be Released December 15, 2006

My Soul is Anchored, a CD of poems collected from August 2005 through August 2006 in the Mourning Katrina National Writing Project, is scheduled for release on Friday, December 15, 2006. CDs may be ordered directly from the James Madison University box office. Click here after December 15 to order.

Pomegranate Press to Release African American Poetry notecards in January 2007

Pomegranate Press of Petaluma, California, in conjunction with Furious Flower Poetry Center, has developed a 2008 calendar of African American poets. The calendar images were first introduced as Malaika Favorite's Quilt Portrait at the 2004 Furious Flower Conference. The calendar will be released in the summer of 2007, but in January a boxed set of notecards featuring four of the images will be available. The notecards feature images and poetry of Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Rita Dove. Check here in January for information on how to order the notecards!
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