• Bourbon & Poetry Festival,  What's New

    Affrilachian Poets & their Guests: Online Readings in June

    Bourbon & Poetry Festival Postponed. The first installment of the Affrilachian Poets Bourbon & Poetry Festival. This is going to be epic. We all need this reading right about now. Gather with us for healing words, words of solidarity, protest, and resilience.   If you have ever been to an AP reading, you know how we do! Watch here live: https://www.facebook.com/events/969458750178181/ Check out the line up for B & P Festival Event I Stay tuned to Pluck! We will be featuring brief Q&A’s with each author and publishing selections from their readings on our site.

  • Bourbon & Poetry Festival

    Bourbon & Poetry Festival, Part I Line-up

    Meet the Incredible Line-up for the June 1st reading Shauna Morgan author of the chapbook Fear of Dogs & Other Animals (Central Square Press), is a poet and scholar from a rural district in Clarendon, Jamaica. An Associate Professor of creative writing and Africana literature at Howard University in Washington, D.C., she recently moved to Lexington, Kentucky’s East End Artist Village with her husband and children. Shauna has published poetry in A Gathering Together, ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, and elsewhere. Her critical work has appeared in the CLA Journal, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and South Atlantic Review.…

  • eSwatini issue,  Nonfiction

    The Identity Politics of Swaziland & Eswatini

    On April 19 2018 King Mswati III made an announced that the country previously known as “Swaziland shall henceforth be renamed to Eswatini”or was it eSwatin? The name change obviously took everyone by surprise considering that we had not received the memo, but the fact that it was dressed in the cloaks of “self-determination” meant that we could saturate the aftermath with identity decolonization lingo. Identity politics have always been a rallying subject for Africans which is understandable considering the extent to which our identity has been erased. But I often ask myself if we will ever be vigilant enough to equally denounce the history of internal colonization? On the…

  • eSwatini issue,  Poetry

    Mapping Eswatini

    1  Mountains Speak   Our plane flies Over the Makhonjwa Mountains, Which formed the valleys and gorges of Swaziland. I marvel at how they carry age, Billions of years, stratified layers Beneath the green-hued rock.   And I think of home Over eight thousand miles away, The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Lush green in summer, Waiting for this new day to arrive.   These misty African mountains, Cradling humanity, confound speech. We have come to bring words, But I can hardly untie my tongue In the presence of their majesty.   2  Minerva Lab Theater, Mbabane   We had come to bring words To the center of Swazi culture,…

  • eSwatini issue,  Nonfiction

    Friends Who Just Met

    “We are each other’s harvest. We are each other’s business. We are each other’s magnitude and bond”                          -From “Paul Robeson” by Gwendolyn Brooks   From the beginning, everything seemed so familiar. Joanne and I had arrived at the theater early Monday morning to meet with local poets who had signed up for this two-day workshop. Joanne was the highly-touted teacher from the far-away United States, and the Eswatini poets came expecting to receive from this prolific scholar furious flower-like nuggets that would enhance their craft. Except for a janitor and a couple of poets who were in the theater when we arrived, the building was desolate. Within half an…

  • eSwatini issue,  Interviews

    Dispatches from 2019 Furious Flower Summer Legacy Seminars

    Interview with Prof. Lauren K. Alleyne Why did Furious Flower select Giovanni for this particular honor?  The Summer Legacy Seminars are designed to recognize distinguished Black poets who have contributed to American letters by producing a substantial body of work, and Nikki is a highly decorated Black literary and cultural icon with over 30 books, so her qualification in that way made her an easy choice. More importantly, though, the goal of the seminar is to ensure that these writers’ literary legacy is continued through curricular inclusion and critical consideration. There is a dearth of scholarly work on Nikki Giovanni—in the words of Maryemma Graham, Nikki is a poet who…

  • eSwatini issue,  Nonfiction

    Deeper Than Double: Nikki Giovanni and her Appalachian Elders

    Reflections by Affrilachian Poet Asha French on a talk given by Nikki Giovanni at the 2019 Furious Flower Summer Legacy Seminars honoring the life and work of Giovanni. “Right now, if you were driving… Well, nobody has flat tires anymore. But if you had a flat tire in the old days when people had flat tires, the best place to be was in Appalachia.” The world-renowned Nikki Giovanni is “caping” for Appalachia, and her “you” is me—a Black woman who, before talking with Giovanni, might have been afraid to stop alone in any Appalachian “old day” with four good tires. My “really?” betrayed the conditioning Giovanni works to undo. “Oh,…

  • eSwatini issue,  Interviews

    Interview with Prof. Amy Alvarez

    What inspired you to attend the 2019 Furious Flower Summer Legacy Seminars? I attended Furious Flower’s summer seminar on Nikki Giovanni to deepen my understanding of what it means to be a black Appalachian poet. I have read Nikki’s work since girlhood, starting with Spin A Soft Black Song, a book gifted to me by my aunt. Did the experience meet your expectations? My experience at the seminar went beyond what I could have expected. I knew I would learn and grow as a poet and educator. I knew I would meet incredibly talented writers and educators from all over the nation. I knew I would get to speak with Giovanni herself. The…