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A Reading by Poet Jericho Brown

Poet Jericho BrownA Reading by Jericho Brown
Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014
Gelman Library, Room 702

Please join the English Department and the GWU community in welcoming Jericho Brown to campus as part of the Jenny McKean Moore Reading Series.

A cursory look through some of Jericho Brown’s poetry such as “Heart Condition” or “Langston Blue” reveals a straightforward poetic style that conveys not-so-straightforward themes and emotions. There is an undeniable force behind the words of Brown’s poetry.

In a recent interview with the Poetry Society of America, Jericho Brown outlined some of the guiding principles he keeps in mind while writing a poem, stating: “I strive to be clear – not obvious. I am neither afraid of nor married to difficult or accessibility. I mean to write poems that are felt before they are understood.” And that is exactly what he does in his most recent book of poetry, The New Testament.

Brown’s second book of poetry, The New Testament, infuses myth, fable, elegy and fairy tale to explore themes of race, masculinity and sexuality. Brown’s reconceptualization of the New Testament has received an array of advance praise from authors and publishers alike. A review published by NPR aptly identifies the muted power present in Brown’s new book: “What’s most remarkable in these poems is that, while they never stop speaking through gritted teeth, never quite make the choice between hope and fear, they are always beautiful, full of a music.”

Prior to The New Testament, Brown published another well-received book of poetry entitled Please, which examines the intersection of love and violence. In addition, his work has been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, Oxford American, The Nation, and Nikki Giovanni’s 100 Best African American Poets.  

Brown was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He earned his undergraduate degree from Dillard University, an MFA from the University of New Orleans, and his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He has previously taught at the University of San Diego. He is now an assistant professor in Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta.

For his first work of poetry, Please, Brown was awarded the American Book Award. Additionally, for his work in creative writing, Brown has been honored with the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and a Whiting Writer’s Award.

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