Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.
Poetry Reading: Jericho Brown, Lauren K. Alleyne
In his new work, The Tradition, Jericho Brown’s poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by his mastery. His invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction. Tracy K. Smith describes Lauren Alleyne’s Honeyfish as “exquisitely crafted poems of heart-accelerating candor and clarity” and the book as “an elegy for all the countless lost, and a praise song for the many black lives that persist in their wish to give and receive love.” Join these two poets as they read from their new collections.
James Davis May lives in Macon, Georgia, where he serves as Writer-in-Residence at Mercer University. His first poetry collection, Unquiet Things, was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2016 and selected as a finalist for the Poets’ Prize.
The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex―a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues―testament to his formal skill.