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

As a Human Being

There is the happiness you have

And the happiness you deserve.

They sit apart from one another

The way you and your mother

Sat on opposite ends of the sofa

After an ambulance came to take

Your father away. Some good

Doctor will stitch him up, and

Soon an aunt will arrive to drive

Your mother to the hospital

Where she will settle next to him

Forever, as promised. She holds

The arm of her seat as if she could

Fall, as if it is the only sturdy thing,

And it is since you've done what

You always wanted. You fought

Your father and won, marred him.

He'll have a scar he can see all

Because of you. And your mother,

The only woman you ever cried for,

Must tend to it as a bride tends

To her vows, forsaking all others

No matter how sore the injury.

No matter how sore the injury

Has left you, you sit understanding

Yourself as a human being finally

Free now that nobody's got to love you.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Memory & The Past

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times


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