To believe in God is to love
What none can see. Let a lover go,
Let him walk out with the good
Spoons or die
Without a signature, and so much
Remains for scrubbing, for a polish
Cleaner than devotion. Tonight,
God is one spot, and you,
You must be one
Jericho Brown grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, and worked as a speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans before earning his PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. He also holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Orleans and graduated with a BA from Dillard University in 1998.
Brown is the author of two books of poetry. His most recent collection, The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), was described by Yusef Komunyakaa as a chronicle of "life and death, personal rituals and blasphemies, race and nation, the good and the bad" that illuminates "scenarios of self-interrogation and near redemption." His first collection of poetry, Please (New Issues, 2008), won the 2009 American Book Award. The collection has received tremendous praise since its release; Ilya Kaminsky notes: "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."
Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award and has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.
He was a teaching fellow in the English department at the University of Houston from 2002-2007, a visiting professor at San Diego State University's MFA program in spring 2009, and an assistant professor of English at the University of San Diego. He has also taught at numerous conferences and workshops, including the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at the University of Iowa. He is currently an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)
Please (New Issues, 2008)