Teaching Writing

The Write Time and the Furious Flower Syllabus Project


This episode of The Write Time features members of the Furious Flower Syllabus Project, an open-access curriculum for incorporating Black poetry into classrooms of all ages and levels. Originally published on April 25, 2024

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About Our Guests

McKinley E. Melton earned his PhD from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to joining the Gettysburg College faculty, Dr. Melton was a visiting assistant professor of literature at Hampshire College from 2007-2012. He is also the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and was a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University. Most recently, Dr. Melton was awarded a 2019-20 Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies, in order to support a year as scholar-in-residence at the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University.

Allia Abdullah-Matta is a poet and Professor of English at CUNY LaGuardia, where she teaches composition, literature, creative writing, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies courses. She writes about the culture and history of Black women and explores the presence of Black bodies and voices in fine art and poetry. She was the co-recipient of the The Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize in Poetry (2018) from The City College of New York (CCNY). Her poetry has been published in Newtown Literary, Promethean, Marsh Hawk Review, Mom Egg Review Vox, Global City Review, and the Jam Journal Issue of Push/Pull. Her chapbook(s) washed clean & blues politico (2021) were published by harlequin creature (hcx). Abdullah-Matta has published critical and pedagogical articles and serves on the Radical Teacher and WSQ (Women’s Studies Quarterly) editorial boards. She is working on a collection of poems inspired by archival and field research in South Carolina and Georgia, funded by a CUNY BRESI grant.

Hayes Davis’ first volume, Let Our Eyes Linger, was published by Poetry Mutual Press; he is currently serving as the Howard County (Md) Poetry and Literature Society Writer in Residence, and he won a 2022 Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artists Award. His work has appeared most recently on the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day feature, he has been anthologized in This is What America Looks Like, Deep Beauty, Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, Ghost Fishing: An Eco-justice Poetry Anthology, and others. His poems have also appeared in Mom Egg Review, New England Review, Poet Lore, Auburn Avenue, Gargoyle, Kinfolks, Fledgling Rag, and other journals. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Maryland, and is a member of Cave Canem’s (Cah-vay Cah-nem) first cohort of fellows. He has attended or been awarded writing residencies at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, The Hermitage, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Manhattanville College, and Soul Mountain. He has appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, 88.5 in Washington, D.C. and at the Hay Festival Kells in Kells, Ireland. He has taught English and directed equity and justice work in Washington, D.C.-area independent schools for 20+ years; he shares his creative and domestic life with his wife, poet Teri Ellen Cross Davis, and their children.

Dave Wooley is an English, Journalism and Creative Writing teacher at Westhill High School in Stamford, Connecticut, where he has taught since 2001. He has served as a Co-Adviser for the school’s hybrid newspaper The Westword since 2003. He has served as an adjunct Professor at Fairfield University, teaching Philosophy of Hip Hop, and he is a teaching fellow at the Connecticut Writing Project. Dave is one half of the rap group d_Cyphernauts and a hip-hop educator who has presented at the HipHopEd conference, the NCTE annual conference, the CSPA conference, among others. He served as a curriculum and music coordinator for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “From Harlem to Hip-Hop: African- American History, Literature, and Song” which was hosted at Fairfield University. Dave is a contributing poet on the website Ethical ELA, and he has been involved with the Furious Flower Center for Black Poetry as a participating scholar in its last three Legacy Seminars. He is one of the authors of Furious Flower’s newly created open access syllabus, Opening the World of Black Poetry: A Furious Flower Syllabus. He lives in Stratford, Connecticut with his wife and four children.

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This post is part of the NWP Radio collection.