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Fight & Fiddle

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Acts of optimism: Karenne Wood on language, silence, and healing

Karenne Wood (2015)

In this three-part interview with Elizabeth Hoover, Wood discusses the relationship between her scholarship and poetry, the importance of silence in her work and in Native culture, and how she challenges stereotypes.
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Yona Harvey does not need a brand

Yona Harvey at JMU (2015)

In this interview with Elizabeth Hoover, poet Yona Harvey discusses how she has come to embrace her chaotic life, uses her attraction to polyphonic writing, and finds the power within doubt and uncertainty.
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On the border: Interview with Nadine Pinede
In this two-part interview with Elizabeth Hoover, Nadine Pinede talks about her poetry, prose, and the influence of Haiti on both.

Nadine Pinede (2014)

A broken epic for the black community: Interview with Dwayne Betts
In this interview with Elizabeth Hoover, R. Dwayne Betts discusses his education as a poet, his stance on form, and the differences between writing nonfiction and poetry.

R. Dwayne Betts reads at JMU in 2015

Revolutionary poetics: Dawn Lundy Martin on experimentation, collaboration, and the university
For Dawn Lundy Martin, poetry, performance, and activism are interrelated and arise from an urgent need to disrupt and dismantle dominant narratives of race, gender, and identity.

Dawn Lundy Martin

Our beautiful, decrepit selves: Interview with Ross Gay
Poet Ross Gay talks with Elizabeth Hoover about how gardening has changed his approach to writing, the importance of the body in his writing, and his advice to young writers.

Sterling Brown's Border Crossings
In honor of Sterling Brown's birthday (May 1, 1901), The Fight & the Fiddle offers this excerpt from Dr. Joanne Gabbin's paper on Brown, presented at CLA's annual conference in April 2015.

Launch Fight and Fiddle
Welcome to the online literary journal published by the Furious Flower Poetry Center, THE FIGHT & THE FIDDLE. We take our name from a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, which appeared in ANNIE ALLEN. This book won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize making Brooks the first African American poet to receive that honor. "First fight. Then fiddle," begins the poem, a seemingly clear statement of Brooks' priorities: that the struggle comes before the art, the politics above the poem. And yet, if the art is secondary, why lavish such beautiful language on descriptions of the music?

The FIght & the Fiddle logo

Comprehensive Humanity: Kyle Dargan on Loss, Learning, and Language
In this three-part interview conducted by The Fight & the Fiddle editor Elizabeth Hoover, Kyle Dargan discusses limits to poetry's political efficacy, hip-hop's influence on him, and how his poetry has changed as he enters his thirties.

Kyle Dargan (2013)

Poets, Photographers, and Poet-Photographers (Part Two)
Erica Cavanagh, professor of English at JMU, first photographed the Furious Flower poets in 1994 when she was a student reporter for the school's newspaper.

Cornelius Eady (2014)

"I'm not scared of my fear:" Jericho Brown on craft, politics, and compassion in poetry
When Jericho Brown read at James Madison University as part of the Furious Flower Poetry Center's Reading and Performance series, he was greeted with a standing ovation. The audience was reacting not only to the power of his written words, but also to Brown's performance, which was inflected with the cadences of sermons he'd heard growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Jericho Brown (2010)

"What I know about writing:" Camille Dungy on the hard work of transformation
Poet and professor Camille Dungy talks about how her processes as a writer and editor are invested in transformation.

Camille Dungy, 2013

"Humor, pathos, and a bit of discomfort:" Holly Bass on performance, poetry, and activism
Furious Flower Poetry Center's assistant director, Elizabeth Hoover, interviews poet and performer Holly Bass, who presented her work at the Forbes Center in Harrisonburg, Va. April 16, 2013.

Holly Bass (2013)

Poets, Photographers, and Poet-Photographers
C. B. Claiborne has photographed some of America's finest writers as they performed and participated at the Furious Flower Poetry Conferences at James Madison University.

Meta DuEwa Jones, Douglas Kearney, Mendi Lewis Obadike (2014)

Look back at 1994: The historic first Furious Flower Poetry Conference
In 1994, JMU's Dr. Joanne Gabbin hosted the first Furious Flower Poetry Conference, drawing such literary luminaries as Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, and Rita Dove.