Furious Flower I: Warriors

  • Amiri Baraka with Askia M. Touré
  • Haki R. Madhubuti with Sonia Sanchez
  • Kalamu ya Salaam with Everett Hoagland
  • Sonia Sanchez with Lorenzo Thomas
  • Eugene Redmond with Jabari Asim
  • Nikki Giovanni with Virginia Fowler

The Black Arts Movement swept through the 1960's as the lieterary arm of the Black liberation movements of those years. It defined a strong Black cultural identity and waged a war for literary self-determination. In this video volume these veterans read from work which stirred a generation and discuss the achievements and unfulfilled hopes of their movement.

"The time cracks into furious flower
Lifts its face all unashamed
And sways in wicked grace."
- Gwendolyn Brooks, The Second Sermon on the Warpland

Furious Flower I is nothing less than a video anthology of African American verse during the last half of the 20th century. This invaluable reference work offers intimate portraits of twenty-five leading poets, each reading and discussing their own work. It offers concise introductions to such important contemporary African American writers as Poet Laureate Rita Dove, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni and Michael Harper. More than that, Furious Flower I offers viewers hours of pleasure listening to some of the most impassioned and powerful poetry ever written in America.

This series preserves for students, faculty and the general public a landmark conference Furious Flower: A Revolution in African American Poetry 1960-95 celebrating the continuity of Black verse from the Harlem Renaissance through the Black Arts Movement of the '60s to the hip-hop influenced poetry of today. The event was dedicated to Gwendolyn Brooks, an inspiration to Black poets for over fifty years, taking its title from a line in one of her poems.

Conference organizer and series producer, Dr. Joanne Gabbin, explains why African American poetry is both furious and flowering: "It's a poetry of grace and rage, of identity and struggle, combining beauty and political activism."

The Furious Flower I video anthology furthers the same scholarly agenda as the conference: to place Black poetry squarely in the canon of 20th century American verse. "We're fifty years behind," poet and critic E. Ethelbert Miller warned. "We need to have our work assessed not just as 'protest poetry' but as we would any great literature."

The complete series consists of fifteen to twenty minute self-portraits of twenty-six individual poets arranged into four "video volumes" under the rubrics Elders, Warriors, Seers, and Initiates. They mix stirring public readings by each writer with informal conversations with fellow poets and critics. They discuss their work in terms of historical continuity and disjuncture, oral and written traditions, Southern versus Northern experiences, but above all, within the rich matrix of African American vernacular culture.

Furious Flower I offers students and the general public an essential compilation of African American poetry at the end of the 20th century offering a unique chance to sample its rich diversity and to meet the men and women behind it. It provides nothing more or less than these poets in their own words revealing the eloquence and commitment of three generations of African Americans verse.

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Streaming Access (1-year) $175.00
Streaming Access (3-year) $350.00
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