Furious Flower welcomes Gbenga Adesina, Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Black Global and Diasporic Poetry

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by Megan N. Medeiros

 
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SUMMARY: Furious Flower Poetry Center welcomes Gbenga Adesina, Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Black Global and Diasporic Poetry, this August.


Furious Flower Poetry Center is thrilled to announce Gbenga Adesina as the new Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Black Global and Diasporic Poetry. Adesina joins us from Florida State University, where he is completing his doctorate in Creative Writing, with specializations in poetry and postcolonial studies. Adesina, a Nigerian poet and scholar, will make a welcome addition to the Furious Flower team; African, African American, and Diaspora (AAAD) Studies; and the English Department of James Madison University.

Adesina received his MFA from New York University, where he was a Goldwater Fellow and was mentored by Yusef Komunyakaa. He has received fellowships and support from Poets House, New York, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Norman Mailer Center. He was the 2019-20 Olive B. O'Connor Fellow at Colgate University where he taught a popular undergraduate poetry class called, "Song of the Human". He has also received support for his research and creative projects from Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. 

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Adesina (left) pictured with Furious Flower Executive Director Lauren K. Alleyne and Associate Professor of Political Science Kristin N. Wylie

Adesina said he was excited to join the Furious Flower team.

"Furious Flower, to me is a place of deep historic connections," Adesina said. "It is such a resonant and significant place and that made me think, 'They're doing God's work here!'"

Adesina's research interests include archival poetics, Black feminist archival imaginaries, poetics of grief, diasporic and global Black poetry, and narratives of desire and memory, as well as narratives of migration, belonging, and displacement. His chapbook, Painter of Water, was published as part of the New-Generation African Poets series, selected by the African Poetry Book Fund and published by Akashic Books. His poem, "Across the Sea: A Sequence," won the 2020 Narrative Prize. His poem, "How to Paint a Girl" was selected for publication by the poetry editor at the New York Times for its "vivid imagination and empathetic insight into the suffering of others". His work has also been published in Harvard Review, Prairie Schooner, Guernica, Yale Review, and elsewhere, and translated into half a dozen languages. He has performed his work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Whitney Museum, among others. He's the Co-Founding editor of A Long House, a new frontier for art, critical thinking, and languages across the Black diaspora.

In his position as a fellow at Furious Flower, Adesina will support planning of the 2024 Furious Flower Conference, assist in the ongoing work of Furious Flower's archive project in conjunction with JMU Libraries, teach courses through the English Department and AAAD, and continue his own research and writing.

gbenga-article-2"This position magically weaves together my interests and callings as a poet, researcher, educator, editor, archivist, and organizer. I'm excited to teach and to see how I can bring my ongoing research in archival poetics and the poetics of migration narratives to my students."

Adesina is also eager for the curatorial and archival aspects of the position, as well as working with the center to expand its reach into global and diasporic Black poetry, including community outreach with local immigrant populations.

"I'm excited to see how Furious Flower is becoming a Mecca for Black poetry, community engagement, and community building, and I want to see that happen even on a global scale," he said.

Adesina will be sharing his work at a Furious Flower poetry reading on September 21 at 5 p.m. in the Highlands Room located in Festival Conference & Student Center. RSVP on Facebook and save the event to your digital calendar here.

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Published: Friday, August 25, 2023

Last Updated: Friday, September 1, 2023

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