2020 Furious Flower Poetry Prize Winners


2020 Furious Flower Poetry Prize Winners

_diamondforde2.jpgFurious Flower is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Furious Flower Poetry Prize! Judge Kei Miller has selected Diamond Forde, as the winner for her poems, “Genesis,” “Exodus,” and “Book of Laws”. Nathan John was selected as the honorable mention for his poems “Light Off,” “Four-in-hand,” and “Hem. Forde and Jon will be awarded monetary awards of $1000 and $500 respectively, a future reading with judge Kei Miller at JMU in the fall, and publication in Obsidian 

 Winner Diamond Forde's debut book, Mother Body, was selected by Patricia Smith for the Saturnalia 2019 Poetry Prize and will be forthcoming in Spring 2021. She is a Callaloo and Tin House fellow whose work has appeared in Tupelo QuarterlyNinth LetterThe Offing and more. She is the recipient of the 2019 Margaret Walker Memorial Prize, finalist for the 2019 Georgia Poetry Prize, finalist for the Pleaides Press Editor Prize, and 3rd place winner of the Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Florida State University. 

 When asked what winning the prize means to her, Forde responded, “Winning this award validates all the ways I've been thinking about lineage lately. I think now, more than ever, my generation has been tasked with imagining the future and the future feels impossible. Where do we even go from here? I think the fear of our uncertain future has been causing me to look backward, to see how far we've come, to think about all of the ingenuity and survival of my ancestors, how their strengths became my inheritance. That's what my writing is focused on right now: lineage. Winning this prize feels a bit like confirming the ingenuity and survival of poetry lives in me, too.” 

 _nathanjohn2.jpgHonorable mention, Nathan Kweku John is a first-year MFA candidate at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where he’s currently working on his first poetry collection. He was born in The Gambia to parents of Ghanaian and Sierra Leonean descent and has roots across West Africa and, most recently, the United States. This transnational upbringing heavily influences his poetic aesthetic as he endeavors to uncover poetic connections across diasporic time and space.  

 John comments on his honorable mention that “Growing up, I didn’t see myself in much of the literature I read which was one of the biggest reasons why I started writing. So, as a Gambian-American writer, I am overjoyed to be a Furious Flower Poetry Prize winner, given the organization’s commitment to uplifting Black voices from all over the diaspora.”  

 Finalists for the prize were: Akosua Afiriyie-Hwedie (“Give Us This Day”), Sherese Francis (Same Nobody: A Ghazal), Christell Lewis (“Blues Woman”), Maurisa Li-A-Ping (“An ode to my mother or how to make prom prom,” and Brittany Rogers (“Sestina for Sex Talk”). Their poems will also appear in Obsidian, as part of the Furious Flower Prize folio. 


Furious Flower will host a reception and public reading featuring Diamond Forde, Nathan John, and judge Kei Miller in the fall; details will be posted on this webpage and on Furious Flower social media. 

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Published: Monday, March 30, 2020

Last Updated: Monday, March 30, 2020

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