Give to the Carmen R. Gillespie Fellowship Fund


Celebration. Education. Preservation.

The nation’s first academic center for Black poetry, Furious Flower needs your support to continue and expand all that we do for scholars, poets, community members, and students. 

Donate to Furious Flower

When you make a financial contribution, you help make these and other important programs possible:

International Conference
Our flagship event, the Furious Flower Poetry Conference convenes once every 10 years for scholars and writers from around the world to explore contemporary trends in Black literature, culture, and thought.

National Poetry Contest
Furious Flower’s Poetry Prize is given annually to an emerging writer,
who receives a monetary award and reads with the esteemed contest judge at JMU during April, National Poetry Month.

Regional Theatrical Productions
Our tribute concerts and staged readings, held in premier concert halls, honor Black cultural icons and writers.

Community Summer Camp
More than 1,000 children have attended our annual integrated arts experience for kids aged 7 to 13. Workshops on writing, movement, music, and visual art emphasize expression, inclusion, and fun, and nearly half of the attendees receive scholarships each year.

Campus Readings and Lectures
We feature the most exciting voices in Black poetry in our annual reading series, where community members along with students and faculty pack JMU’s lecture halls to hear them talk about and perform their poetry.

Educational Programs and Materials
Our seminars, books, DVDs, audio programs, and exhibits empower educators to teach Black poetry in their classrooms from high school on up to the graduate level.

Black History Archive
Housed at the JMU Carrier Library and looked after by university archivists, the sizeable Furious Flower special collection contains manuscripts, video, photographs, correspondence, and more, all carefully accumulated and curated since the first conference in 1994.  

Carmen R. Gillespie Fellowship
Our undergraduate fellowship supports promising undergraduates studying Black poetry and culture in honor of the late Carmen R. Gillespie.                              


The Furious Flower Poetry Center creates and shares its programs and resources as a department of James Madison University, a public institution in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To ensure that we continue and grow—no matter what state or federal governments decide about arts and education funding—we need your financial support. Making contributions in any amount shows your commitment and helps us fulfill ours. 


Back to Top