Jericho Brown

Poet and 2011 NEA Literature Fellow
Headshot of a young man with a crown of flowers on his herad.

Photo by Brian Cornelius

Transcript available shortly.

We’re celebrating Pride month with a conversation with poet, 2011 NEA Literature Fellow, and 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winner Jericho Brown.  Drawing on biography, history, and mythology, Brown’s acclaimed collection The Traditionbears witness to personal and public violence, love, anger, and vulnerability. It challenges and forces a reckoning with tradition, even it seeks to enlarge its possibilities. And it does so with language that is both dazzling and haunting. Brutality and tenderness are never far apart in Brown’s work. In language that sings with lyrical intensity, Brown demands attention to the beauty of and damage done to the bodies of Black and queer people.  In this poetry-filled podcast, Brown walks us through his writing of The Tradition in particular and poetry in general.  When Brown writes a poem, he begins with sounds. He says, “Once you find the words that make those sounds, they tell you what you’re saying.”  Brown gives us a close reading of a couple of his poems, explains the new poetic form he invented called “the duplex” (and gives us poetic examples of it,) and talks about the significance of Black queer poetry and its capacity to expand our concept of love.