Jericho Brown


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 The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry; The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), which received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and Please (New Issues, 2008), which received the 2009 American Book Award. Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award and has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. He has taught at the University of Houston, San Diego State University, and the University of San Diego, as well as at numerous conferences and workshops. Brown is currently an associate professor of English and creative writing and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and poetry editor at The Believer. Source

Duplex ["A poem is a gesture"]

A poem is a gesture toward home.

It makes dark demands I call my own.


            Memory makes demands darker than my own:

            My last love drove a burgundy car.


My first love drove a burgundy car.

He was fast and awful, tall as my father.


            Steadfast and awful, my tall father

                Hit hard as a hailstorm. He'd leave marks.


Light rain hits easy but leaves its own mark

Like the sound of a mother weeping again.


            Like the sound of my mother weeping again,

            No sound beating ends where it began.


None of the beaten end up how we began.

A poem is a gesture toward home.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica

Memory & The Past

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:


The poem starts with a couplet of two distinct lines. The second line is repeated and a new line is added, and then repeated until there are seven couplets of nine to eleven syllables each. This form was invented by Jericho Brown.


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”