Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Jericho Brown at Friday Forum
Jericho Brown read a selection of his work to a rapt audience for Millbrook’s Friday Forum. Though held over Zoom, the privilege of hearing the author’s work delivered live and in his own voice was powerful. Millbrook’s Friday Forums are intended to expose students to different voices that may inspire, illuminate, and challenge. Mr. Brown’s program was especially compelling in the current moment. His work frequently considers identity and his explorations as a Black, queer, teacher, student, Southerner, and poet.
Mr. Brown is the director of the Creative Writing Program and a professor at Emory University; he is practiced at speaking in front of a student audience. As he read, Mr. Brown seemed to somehow re-inhabit the pieces, animating the language, emphasizing the rhythm, and making clear his intent. Hearing a celebrated poet in the prime of his career read his work was an unforgettable experience for the community.
Following two other award-winning books of poetry, Mr. Brown won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 2019 collection The Tradition. He read two pieces that he has called ‘duplex poems,’ a poetic form of his invention. This new structure involves the repetition and reinterpretation of a line into and throughout the poem. Mr. Brown has referred to the duplex poem as a ‘sonnet subversion,’ a bridge between a classic form and an innovative means of developing, expanding, and reinforcing themes within a piece.
Jess Piard ’21, Millbrook’s 2020 Poetry Prize winner, introduced Mr. Brown and presented her own duplex poem. After Mr. Brown read nearly 20 poems spanning his career,English Department Chair Lewis Feuer and English Instructor Kathy Havard conducted a question and answer session between students and the poet.
Video of the forum is available for parents and alumni on their Resources board, accessible when logged into Millbrook's website.