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Spring 2015 Reading Series presented by Furious Flower

Kamilah Moon, Rachel Griffiths, Ross Gay

On Feb. 9, Mar. 19, and Apr. 1, 2015 Furious Flower 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 the 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:

Feb. 9 at 4pm in Festival’s Highlands Room | A Pushcart Prize winner, Kamilah Aisha Moon will feature poems from She Has a Name (2013), which tells the story of a young woman with autism from multiple points of view. The speakers in these poems—sisters, mother, father, teacher—pursue answers to questions science can’t yet answer: “Autism, the one-drop rule for minds / we strain to understand, the catch-all…” While seeking to understand, the speakers yearn to protect the young woman—“The last thing / I ever wanted was to let her / down,” says the Father. Whether protector or questioner, each voice strives to understand their own feelings of love, awe, and guilt toward this remarkable young woman with autism. - See more at

Mar. 19 at 4pm at the Duke Hall Gallery | Rachel Eliza Griffiths’ full-length collection, Mule & Pear (2011), was selected for the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus American Library Association. In it, the speakers echo and respond to some of the most important black women characters in the literature of the past 100 years. Both a poet and photographer, Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Fittingly, her reading takes place in the Duke Hall Gallery and will help launch her latest book, Lighting the Shadow (2015) and showcase some of her images in the gallery. - See more at

Apr. 1 at 4pm in Taylor 405 | As a founding board member of the Community Orchard of Bloomington, IN, Ross Gay is deeply dedicated to sustainability—something that comes through in his abundant and ecstatic poetry. His third collection of poetry A Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude (2015) focuses on the themes of planting and gardening. “This is a book that studies the wisdom of the garden and orchard,” he says, “those places where all—death, sorrow, loss—is converted into what might, with patience, nourish us.” - See more at

And don’t forget this annual community event:

Apr. 21 at 4pm in the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum | Celebrate National Poetry Month with this outdoor reading. Bring your own or someone else’s nature poem to share, read it by the Poet-Tree, then leave it in the basket on the weeping willow. - See more at

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