January 2014

In memoriam: Alvin Bernard Aubert (1930-2014)

Alvin Aubert at the 1984 Furious Flower Poetry ConferenceA singular voice that emerged in the 1960s, when many others composed fiery poems intended to change the world, Alvin Bernard Aubert wrote primarily about personal experiences from his childhood and adolescence in Louisiana. In 1975, he founded Obsidian: Black Literature in Review, which published aspiring writers and acted as a forum for critical discussion of works by African and African-American writers. Aubert retired in 1992 as professor emeritus of English from Wayne State.

A poetry scholar, teacher, and the author of several collections, Aubert died on January 7, 2014 in Trenton, New Jersey.

Furious Flower executive director Dr. Joanne Gabbin especially remembers Aubert’s courageous and determined stride down the aisle of Grafton-Stovall Theatre, balancing himself on his new prosthesis and his cane, to read his poems during the historic first Furious Flower Poetry Conference in 1994. To her, this was one of the most profound moments because she saw how much his being there meant to everybody. In the introduction to the book, The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry, she wrote, “His words bore witness to why we were there. We were there because we love poetry and know its power to charge our intellect with new ideas, excite our senses, change our hearts, and move us to action.”

A memorial will be held in March 2014 around what would have been Aubert’s 84th birthday. In lieu of flowers, gifts in his memory can be made to Southern University System Foundation, P.O. Box 9562, Baton Rouge, LA 70813, Attn: Philip Smith, Development Director. Note: The 1880 Scholarship Fund in memory of Alvin Aubert.