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Jericho Brown


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The poet Jericho Brown reminds us to bear witness to the complexity of the human experience, to interrogate the proximity of violence to love, and to look and listen closer so that we might uncover the small truths and surprises in life. His presence is irreverent and magnetic, as the high school students who joined us for this conversation experienced firsthand at the 2018 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. And now he’s won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Editor’s note: This interview discusses sexual violence and rape.

In “Hebrews 13” by Jericho Brown, a narrator says: “my lover and my brother both knocked at my door.” The heat is turned on, scalding coffee is offered and hastily swallowed, and silence is the soundtrack. What an exquisitely awkward triangle it is, and what a human, beautiful, and loving shape that can be.

This is the fifth episode of “Poems as Teachers,” a special seven-part miniseries on conflict and the human condition.

We’re pleased to offer Jericho Brown’s poem, and invite you to read Pádraig’s weekly Poetry Unbound Substack, read the Poetry Unbound book, or listen back to all our episodes.