Furious Flower

A look ahead at Black poetry through critical analysis, personal stories, and, of course, poems

Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry

ed. by Joanne V. Gabbin and Lauren K. Alleyne Northwestern University, 2020
441p, 9780810141544 $34.95

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Gabbin and Alleyne (both, James Madison Univ.) are executive director and assistant director, respectively, of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, established to honor the Black poetic voice. Gabbin’s previous scholarly work includes Sterling A. Brown: Building the Black Aesthetic Tradition (1994); Alleyne has published two collections of poetry, Difficult Fruit (2014) and Honeyfish (2019). The third in a series of anthologies—preceded by The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry (1999) and Furious Flower: African American Poetry from the Black Arts Movement to the Present (2004)—the present volume brings together poetry from more than 100 poets, presenting it in six thematic sections: “Collective Power,” “Black Aesthetics,” “Pan African Poetics,” “Renovation,” “Writing the Body,” and “The Collective.” Each of the first five sections is enhanced with a critical essay, contributed by a respected Black scholar or poet, pertaining to the section’s theme; the final section intertwines creative essays with poetry, analysis, and personal stories. Rita Dove contributes a foreword. Looking to the future through artistic expression, this timely anthology is a formidable resource.

Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.
Reviewer: T. L. Stowell, Adrian College
Subject: Humanities – Language & Literature – English & American
Choice Issue: Nov 2020