Jericho Brown

Acclaimed Poet
American Book Award Winner


“To read Jericho Brown’s poems is to encounter devastating genius.”

Claudia Rankine


Jericho Brown's first collection of poetry, Please (New Issues, 2008), won the 2009 American Book Award, and has received tremendous praise since its release. Terrance Hayes notes, "Please is saturated with an artful passion that gives fire to Jericho Brown's elegies and pathos to his odes. This is the poetry of bloodship: the meaning of family, of love, of sexuality; the resonances of pain and the possibilities of redemption. No wonder there are so many people naming and being named here. No wonder Jericho Brown and his divas and misfits, his tricksters and innocents call out and answer to 'a please that sounds like music.' Intimate, honest, immediate—I could never say all I love about this book…." Brown is currently working on his second collection of poetry, The New Testament, due out in 2014.

Harvard Gazette article about The New Testament

Brown is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, and a Whiting Writer's Award. He was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Hurston Wright Poetry Prize. He has also received two travel fellowships to the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland. His poems appear in magazines including The American Poetry Review, jubilat, Oxford American, Ploughshares, and A Public Space, and in anthologies such as The 100 Best African American Poems edited by Nikki Giovanni.

Emory Interview on The Pulse of the Poem

Jericho Brown grew up in Louisiana and worked as a speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before earning his Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He also holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and graduated magna cum laude from Dillard University. He was a visiting professor at San Diego State University's M.F.A. Program in spring 2009, and has also taught at numerous conferences and workshops including the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Brown has served as the Director of the Cropper Center for Creative Writing at the University of San Diego and his is now an assistant professor of poetry at Emory University.

Poetry Society of America profile

Writer's Digest Interview

About PLEASE (Poetry, 2008)

"His lyrics are memorable, muscular, majestic. His voice in these lines is alive—something that is quite rare in his generation of very bookish and very ironic poetics. Brown's poems are living on the page, and they give the reader that much: a sense of having been alive fully, if only for a duration of 75 pages of this volume. Indeed, Jericho Brown's first book is one of those rare things: a debut of a master poet." —Ilya Kaminsky

Please explores the points in our lives at which love and violence intersect. Drunk on its own rhythms and full of imaginative and often frightening imagery, Please is the album playing in the background of the history and culture that surround African American/male identity and sexuality. Just as radio favorites like Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Pink Floyd characterize loss, loneliness, addiction, and denial with their voices, these poems' chorus of speakers transform moments of intimacy and humor into spontaneous music.

Jericho Brown website