Kwame Dawes, photographer: Chris Abani

Kwame Dawes is the author of 22 books of poetry, most recently Nebraska (2019), and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska, where he is a Chancellor's Professor of English, and he also teaches in the Pacific University MFA in Writing Program. He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has received several awards, including an Emmy, National Press Club Joan Friedenberg Award for Online Journalism, the Forward Poetry Prize, the Musgrave Silver Medal for contribution to the Arts in Jamaica, the Governor's Award for service to the arts in South Carolina, Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry.

View Interviews with Kwame Dawes from the 2004 Conference

Toi Derricotte, photo from Furious Flower Archive

Toi Derricotte is the author of six collections of poetry, including her most recent collection, I: New and Selected Poems (2019), a National Book Awards Finalist. Her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Derricotte is the recipient of numerous honors for her contributions to literature, including the Academy of American Poets' Wallace Stevens Award, the Poetry Society of America's Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry, three Pushcart Prizes, the Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim. In 1996, she co-founded the Cave Canem with poet Cornelius Eady to cultivate artistic and professional opportunities for Black poets. She has been a supporter of Furious FLower since the first conference, held in 1994.

View Toi Derricotte Reading at the 1994 Conference

Rita Dove, photo from Furious Flower Archive

Rita Dove has served as poet laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995, and as poet laureate of Virginia. She is the author of 11 collections of poetry, including most recently Playlist for the Apolcalypse (2021), which won an NAACP Image Award, and Thomas and Beulah (1986), which earned her a Pulitzer Prize. In addition to her poetry, she has published a book of short stories, a novel, and numerous essays. Dove is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at University of Virginia. She has received countless awards and honors, such as a Library of Virginia's Lifetime Achievement Award. President Bill Clinton presented her with a National Humanities Medal and President Barack Obama presented her with a National Medal of Arts, making Dove the only poet to have received both distinctions. In 2022, Dove was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize in Poetry for lifetime achievement from the Library of Congress.

View Interviews with Rita Dove from the 2004 Conference

Cornelius Eady, photo from Furious Flower Archive

Cornelius Eady is the author of eight collections of poetry, including the latest, Hardheaded Weather (2008), nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Several other titles were also lauded: Brutal Imagination (2001) was a National Book Award finalist; The Gathering of My Name (1991) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; and Victims of the Latest Dance Craze (1986) was selected for the Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Eady also adapted his work to the stage, collaborating with composer Diedre Murray on a libretto for a roots opera, Running Man, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Eady is currently a Professor and Chair of Excellence in the English Department at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has received a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1996, Eady and the poet Toi Derricotte founded Cave Canem, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating artistic and professional opportunities for Black poets.

View Cornelius Eady in Furious Flower II: The Black Poetic Tradition

Major Jackson, photo from Furious Flower Archive

Major Jackson is the author of six collections of poetry, including Razzle Dazzle: New & Selected Poems (2023) and Leaving Saturn (2002), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of a collection of essays, talks, and reviews, A Beat Beyond: Selected Prose of Major Jackson (2022). Jackson is currently the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University and is poetry editor of the Harvard Review. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Jackson has also been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers' Award, and received honors from the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in partnership with the Library of Congress.

View Interviews with Major Jackson from the 2004 Conference

Frank X Walker, photo from Furious Flower Archive

Frank X Walker is the first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate. He has published 11 collections of poetry, including Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers (2013), winner of an NAACP Image Award and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award for Poetry, and Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York (2004), winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award. He adapted his collection, Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride (2010), for the stage, earning him the Paul Green Foundation Playwrights Fellowship Award. Walker co-founded the Affrilachian Poets, a grassroots group of poets of color living in Appalachia, and is the founding editor of pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. He is a Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. His honors also include a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry, the West Virginia Humanities Council's Appalachian Heritage Award, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Kentucky Arts Council.

View Fank X Walker in Furious Flower III: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry

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