"PLEASE" by Jericho Brown
Friday, October 17, 2008
New Issues Poetry & Prose announces the publication of Please, the first book by poet Jericho Brown.
“Everyone sings in this live-wire, passionate book, in which the poet ventriloquizes a cast of characters’ hurt into music: Janis Joplin, the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, Diana Ross, a field of crickets. What these songs hold in common is a commitment to examining how love lives beside the wound, how tenderness and harm are so close together, for these battered singers, that it’s often hard to tell them apart. Fresh, deeply felt, formally adventurous, Please is a stunning debut."
“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 blood-ship: 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 . . .”
“Jericho Brown’s debut collection Please resonates like aftershocks on a fault line. The poems here are hauntingly the consequence of lives lived. The silent terror in these poems is the future they seem to inform despite the attempts to integrate the incoherent with the coherent moments of lived experience. Please continually repositions its readers inside the violence of the interruption, the psychic break. To read these poems is to encounter the devastating genius of Jericho Brown: ‘If I had known the location of my own runaway / Breath, I too would have found a blues.’”
Jericho Brown worked as speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans before receiving his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He holds an M.F.A. from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. from Dillard University. Brown served as poetry editor at Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, The Iowa Review, jubilat, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. The recipient of a Cave Canem Fellowship, two scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and two travel fellowships to the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, Brown is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of San Diego, where he teaches creative writing.
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