Finalist for the 2019 National Book Award Honored as a "100 Notable Books of the Year" from The New York Times "By some literary magic—no, it's precision, and honesty—Brown manages to bestow upon even the most public of subjects the most intimate and personal stakes."—Craig Morgan Teicher, “'I Reject Walls': A 2019 Poetry Preview” for NPR “A relentless dismantling of identity, a difficult jewel of a poem.“—Rita Dove, in her introduction to Jericho Brown’s “Dark” (featured in the New York Times Magazine in January 2019) “Winner of a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Brown's hard-won lyricism finds fire (and idyll) in the intersection of politics and love for queer Black men.”—O, The Oprah Magazine “The poems of The Tradition, Brown’s third collection, are at turns tender and vulnerable, severe and riveting.” ―Los Angeles Review of Books Featured in NPR’s “'I Reject Walls': A 2019 Poetry Preview” Named a Lit Hub “Most Anticipated Book of 2019” One of Buzzfeed’s “66 Books Coming in 2019 You’ll Want to Keep Your Eyes On” The Rumpus poetry pick for “What to Read When 2019 is Just Around the Corner” One of BookRiot’s “50 Must-Read Poetry Collections of 2019” Jericho Brown’s daring new book The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction.
"To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius."
"Erotic and grief-stricken, ministerial and playful, Brown offers his reader a journey unlike any other in contemporary poetry."
—Rain Taxi Review of Books
“Brown’s subtleties in the narrative create great irony, feel refined. We are led to believe the renewed expression of the speaker’s homosexuality is something his father could never truly understand. Brown gives us a space for all emotional selves to come together and embrace commonality of experience.”
“His lyrics are memorable, muscular, majestic... Brown's poems are living on the page.”
“These astounding poems by Jericho Brown don't merely hold a lens up to the world and watch from a safe distance; they run or roll or stomp their way into what matters—loss, desire, rage, becoming—and stay there until something necessary begins to make sense. Like the music that runs through this collection, they get inside of you and make something there ache. It's a feeling that doesn't quite go away—and you won't want it to. This is one of the most luminous and courageous voices I have read in a long, long time.”
—U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith
"Exquisite, incisive, as full of the spirit as the soil, the breath and the body, Jericho Brown’s newest collection The Tradition is today’s essential poetry."