Furious Flower presents 3 poets in fall readings


Betts, Wood, and Harvey read at JMU fall 2015

On Sept. 17, Oct. 6, and Nov. 5, 2015 the Furious Flower Poetry Center presents three poets on the JMU campus. For more than 20 years, this academic center has been bringing established and emerging poets to Harrisonburg to provide students and the local community with opportunities to experience live readings. All of the readings are free and open to the public.

Who should attend a poetry reading? If you care about contemporary issues and culture, meaning, language, art, history, live performance … or if you want to spend an hour doing something extraordinary, poetry readings are for you. In his article “Poetry Makes You Weird” writer Eric G. Wilson explains that poetry “estranges us from our normal habits of thought and perception, nullifies old conceptual maps, and so propels us into uncharted regions, outlandish and bracing …”.

What will happen at a reading? When read aloud, poetry can become more accessible and immediate. Furious Flower invites accomplished poets to read their work; some will present only recent poems, and they may even include pieces they’re still working out or have yet to publish. Others will read their “greatest hits.” During our spring reading series, a poet reads for 45 minutes, and then we host a Q&A session for the final 15 minutes.

When and where are the readings? Join us at the following dates and times:

Sept. 17 at 4pm in Madison Union 405 | Author of the memoir A Question of Freedom (2010) and the poetry collection Shahid Reads His Own Palm (2010), Betts spent more than eight years in prison, where he completed high school and began reading and writing poetry. After his release, he founded a book club for African American boys while attending Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland. Later, he was a full scholarship student at the University of Maryland, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts. Betts’ writing has garnered accolades and awards, and he is a Cave Canem Workshop fellow. - See more at:

Oct. 6 at 4pm in Grafton-Stovall Theatre | Known for her poetry and for her scholarship in tribal history, Wood is a member of the Monacan Indian tribe. Her work often explores themes of identity, culture, and language through poetic portraits of historical and contemporary Virginia Indians. She directed a tribal history project for the Monacan Nation, conducted research at the National Museum of the American Indian, and served on the National Congress of American Indians’ Repatriation Commission. In 2015 she was named one of the Library of Virginia’s “Virginia Women in History.” This reading is presented in partnership with the Department of English- See more at:

Nov. 5 at 4pm in Madison Union 405Yona Harvey’s poetry collection Hemming the Water (2013) won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University, and fellow poet Bruce Lowry characterized it as “combustion and passion ... music and poetry ... often about the heart, but also about heartbreak and struggle and resilience of spirit.” More of Harvey’s poems can be found in jubilat, Gulf Coast, Callaloo, West Branch, and various journals and anthologies, including A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry. Harvey is an assistant professor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. - See more at:

For updates on these events and all we do at Furious Flower, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks to the Center for Multicultural Student Services for their continued support of and partnership in presenting poets at JMU.

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 4, 2018

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