Award-winning poet visits campus

by Candler Lowe, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor

Jericho Brown photo by Olivia Mead(resized).jpg
Jericho Brown speaks to a class on LGBT literature. Students read his poetry collection “The New Testament” in preparation for his visit.

“I was always a poet. There was nothing I could do about it,” Jericho Brown told students yesterday morning. The award-winning poet sat in on assistant professor of English Christina Bucher’s gay and lesbian literature class this week during one of his many stops on campus. 

Brown, associate professor of creative writing at Emory University, spoke and read from his newest collection, “The New Testament,” in creative writing classes this week, spoke at a LISTEN and Black Student Association event and will have a poetry reading tonight at 7:30 in the College Chapel. 

Brown is the recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowments for the Arts. 

He is best known for his examination of race, masculinity and sexuality through poetry.

Sandra Meek, Dana professor of English, is one of the faculty members who chose Brown as a guest for this semester’s poetry series. She felt that he would be someone that many people could connect with. 

He doesn’t shy away from exploring his identity as a black gay male, and Meek respects him for addressing these themes in his work. 

“He is an amazing example of a person who is passionate about life,” Meek said. “He is a great example of how you can make great art while still confronting these truths.” 

Senior Tyler Jagt was impressed with the way that Brown was personable and unapologetic when speaking to the class. 

“He is very open about everything he spoke about and he didn’t hesitate to dive into his feelings,” Jagt said. “He shows how it is possible to be who you are.”

Senior Rachel Botta felt that the department’s choice in bringing a diverse speaker to campus was a good way of reaching students of other majors. 

“I know Berry has brought in a lot of really diverse speakers,” Botta said. “I thought it was really great that he was able to speak [to] three separate groups during his time at Berry.” 

Brown will have a question and answer session at his reading as well as a books signing. 

Leave a Reply