Awarded Annually to an Emerging Writer

Furious Flower Poetry Center is committed to ensuring the visibility, inclusion and critical consideration of Black poets in American letters, as well as in the whole range of educational curricula. Our programming seeks to cultivate an appreciation for poetry among students of all levels—from elementary to graduate school and beyond. In addition, Furious Flower seeks to support and promote Black poets at all stages of their careers and to preserve the history of Black poets for future generations.

The award: $1,000 goes to the winner of the Furious Flower Poetry Prize, and an honorable mention receives $500. The poets are featured during a public reading at James Madison University on April 17, 2019. (Accommodations and a $500 honorarium are also provided.) In addition, the award-winning poems will be published in Obsidiana publication of Illinois State.

Jordan Head Shot

The judge: A. Van Jordan (pictured right), author of four collections: Rise, which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award (Tia Chucha Press, 2001); M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, (2005), which was listed as one the Best Books of 2005 by The London Times; Quantum Lyrics, (2007); and The Cineaste, (2013), W.W. Norton & Co. Jordan has been awarded a Whiting Writers Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007), a United States Artists Fellowship (2009), and a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry (2015). He serves as the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of English Language & Literature at The University of Michigan.

Winners will be notified in mid-March 2019.

Submission instructions

Guidelines and Eligibility

  • The prize is open to poets who have published no more than one collection of poetry (excluding self-published collections and chapbooks).
  • Submissions should include a group of 3 unpublished poems, not to exceed 6 pages, and should somehow reflect the mission of Furious Flower Poetry Center.
  • To facilitate blind judging, manuscripts must not include the poet’s name or other identifying or contact information anywhere on the manuscript. Manuscripts failing to comply with this guideline will be disqualified
  • Simultaneous submissions will not be accepted.
  • All submissions must be made electronically via the Furious Flower website between December 10, 2018 and February 10, 2019. Please note that only .doc, .docx, and .pdf file types will be accepted.
  • By submitting an application, poets who are awarded prizes agree to read at James Madison University on April 17, 2019. If the winner or honorable mention is unable to attend, s/he will forfeit the prize and another poet will be named.
  • Non-refundable submission fee: $15.
  • Faculty, staff, and students of James Madison University are not eligible for this prize.
  • Although you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to enter, JMU is constrained by the rules and regulations of the IRS; nonresidents who don’t satisfy the criteria for legal payment are not eligible.


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