#AWP19 Featured Presenter Q&A with Jericho Brown

AWP | February 2019

Event Title: Love from the Belly of Terror: A Copper Canyon Press Reading
Description: Copper Canyon Press presents a reading from four dynamic poets who are leaders in the literary community: Ellen Bass, Jericho Brown, Deborah Landau, and Javier Zamora. Brown's The Tradition and Landau's Soft Targets are new collections debuting at AWP: See their first public readings from these hot-off-the-press books. Zamora's Unaccompanied continues to make (and critique) headlines, and Bass remains one of the most beloved poets writing today.
Participants: Ellen Bass, Jericho Brown, Deborah Landau, Javier Zamora
Location: Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Date & Time: Friday, March 29, 8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


What are some of the conference events or bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP?
I think the fact of being around so many books and readers and book lovers is what matters to me most. We all feel excited together and a little worn out by the end of it together. I like the feel of community there, that we’re all nervous and excited and exhilarated and expectant. You feel that in the air there. I love the feeling that someone is crying at the beauty of a reading and the feeling that someone chose not to go to a reading because she’s having dinner with a friend she hasn’t seen since grad school. And love being in proximity to so many students from around the country and watching them meet one another and knowing I’m seeing the future unfold before me. I like that somehow I’m in and a part of all that, that COMMUNITY, and I’m grateful to AWP for providing it. And yes, I do love that the books seem to get a little cheaper on the last day!

If you’ve been to an AWP before, what is your favorite conference memory?
I remember going to a panel with Toi Derricotte, Kay Murphy, and Alicia Ostriker back when I was getting my MFA. I was so happy to just lay eyes on and marvel at the genius of Ostriker. And I remember that their three talks left me with the feeling that I could indeed allow everything I have and know into my own poems. Toi Derricotte and Kay Murphy have been my literal teachers. I wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t shown me how to write.

What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
Hmm… so hard to narrow down with so many great books coming out in every genre every damn day and it’s really not okay to just be out here naming books when I haven’t read them all, but… since you’re forcing me, I have been yet reawakened by:

Human Hours by Catherine Barnett
Threat Come Close by Aaron Coleman
You Darling Thing by Monica Ferrell
Her Mouth as Souvenir by Heather June Gibbons
National Park by Emily Sieu Liebowitz
Baby I Don’t Care by Chelsey Minnis
Good Moring America I am Hungry and on Fire by Jamie Mortara
Rest by Margaree Little
The Cataracts by Raymond McDaniel
Orlando by Sandra Simonds
Spectra by Ashley Tolliver
Monument by Natasha Trethewey

If you could run into any author, contemporary or historical, at #AWP19, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I’d love to talk with Michelle Obama about which policies her husband carried out that she herself would be against. I’d just want to know. Does this hypothetical scenario include that the person you pick tells you what you want to know?

Jerico BrownJericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book, Please, won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. He serves as poetry editor for The Believer. He is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta. His third collection, The Tradition, is new from Copper Canyon Press in spring 2019.

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