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The 2023 Furious Flower Poetry Prize

The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, the nation’s first academic center devoted to Black poetry, offers a $1,500 prize for a group of three poems through its annual prize.

The Furious Flower Poetry Center is committed to ensuring the visibility, inclusion, and critical consideration of Black poets in American letters, as well as in the whole range of educational curricula. The Center seeks to support and promote Black poets at all stages of their careers and to preserve the history of Black poets for future generations. Submissions that support this mission are welcome.

Poets with no more than one published book are invited to submit up to three poems for consideration.

Winner: $1,500

Honorable mention: $750

Both the winner and honorable mention will be invited to read as part of the Furious Flower Poetry Reading Series in April 2023. The winner, honorable mention, and select finalists will also be published in Obsidian.

2023 Judge: Evie Shockley

Submissions are read blind and the judge will not see any identifying information.

Shockley’s poetry books include suddenly we (forthcoming 2023), semiautomatic and the new black. Her international work has been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and twice garnered the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her honors include the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry and the Stephen Henderson Award, and her joys include being a member of the collective Poets at the End of the World. Shockley is the Zora Neale Hurston Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submit up to 3 poems that do NOT exceed 6 total pages. Please put all poems in a single PDF document.
  • Upload all work through our submission manager in a PDF file format only.
  • No previously published work will be accepted.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome. If your work is accepted elsewhere, please notify us immediately by e-mailing us at furiousflower@jmu.edu
  • Please do not put your name on the submission or in the file name. We read these submissions blind.

Eligibility rules:

  • Authors with 2 or more published or self-published books are not eligible. This does NOT include chapbooks; this rule is only relevant to full-length collections.
  • You may only submit one submission entry up to three poems that do NOT exceed six total pages. Multiple submission entries will disqualify you.
  • Please note: Current JMU Employees and students are note eligible for this prize.
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.