Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Kwame Dawes attends Furious Flower Poetry Conference

by Dan Froid

Kwame Dawes, Chancellor’s Professor of English at UNL and Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner, recently attended the Furious Flower Poetry Conference, hosted by James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on September 24-27.

Held only once per decade, Furious Flower celebrates and recognizes America’s leading and emerging African-American poets, while also establishing new routes for both poetry and scholarship. “When poets of all generations and who feel themselves to be part of the African American poetic tradition come together in such numbers, many things happen that can’t happen in other settings,” Kwame Dawes remarked. “While what happens is unpredictable, it almost always has been a marker for the assertion of new directions and new milestones in African American poetry,” he added.

The Furious Flower Poetry Conference features poetry readings, scholarly papers, panel and roundtable discussions, ongoing exhibits, and musical performances. This year’s conference was dedicated to poet Rita Dove, and, in addition to Dove, honored Toi Derricotte, Michael Harper, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marilyn Nelson, Ishmael Reed, and Quincy Troupe with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The Furious Flower conference is one of the major events of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, the nation’s only academic center devoted to African-American poetry. Dr.  Joanne Gabbin, professor of English at James Madison University, organizes the conferences, and she is also the executive director of the center. To learn more about the Furious Flower Conference and Center, check out its website. To learn more about Kwame Dawes and his work, visit his website