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Madison’s First Black Poet Laureate, Fabu Carter, Writes to Inspire and Encourage Black People

Poet Fabu Carter, who became the first Black person to be chosen as Madison’s poet laureate in 2008, writes not just for the fun of it but to remind her people, inspire lives and also encourage people. She uses her poetry to express what she was seeing, feeling, and hearing.

Fabu, who is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, started writing poetry since she was just 11 years old. When she was young, her father was in the army, so she traveled around the world and the U.S often. She lived in Memphis with her mother since her father had been sent to war in Vietnam during the 1960’s just before Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.

Being the first Black poet laureate of Madison was a very interesting road for her because she was starting to feel discouraged in terms of being an African American artist.  After she was chosen as Madison poet laureate, her experience doing poetry changed because she felt she not only represents the Black but Madison also. Fabu said she started writing when she was in elementary school. Although she wanted to be a Novelist, Fabu fell in love with poetry and since, she had never wanted to do anything else, writing to encourage, inspire and remind the black people around her of their origin and heritage.

“I want to encourage Black people that, though the world may consider us on the bottom, we are really not on anybody’s bottom. I want to inspire us to be the best that we can be when we look at and when we know our history, which is largely unknown in this country. Remind us where we came from, what made us strong.”


Fabu is not just Madison’s First Black Poet Laureate; she is also the First African American editor of the Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar and her creating 2019 calendar that houses Celebrating Wisconsin People is an epitome of what she always wanted to do. Fabu explained how her achievements create a sense of unity between herself and the people she represents.

“As an African American artist, I celebrate myself and my people, but I also celebrate the connections between Wisconsin people. The fact that there’s always been an African American presence, the fact that there’s been connection between Native American people and African American people.

If you say people of color, then we feel like white people are not invited into that, that means people of color.’ Well normally when you said Wisconsin people, we (people of color) haven’t been invited into that. But in Celebrating Wisconsin People, I was asking everybody to go a little bit deeper and talk about their roots. Talk about their legacy, talk about where they’re from.”

Fabu also works with of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Research as she uses her poetry to help ignite their memory and even, brings them to further help. She hopes to continue growing in her writing and possibly becoming The National Poet Laureate some day.




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