The new testament

by Jericho Brown

Paper Book, 2014




Port Townsend, Washington : Copper Canyon Press, [2014]


""Erotic and grief-stricken, ministerial and playful, Brown offers his reader a journey unlike any other in contemporary poetry."-Rain Taxi"To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius."-Claudia RankineIn the world of Jericho Brown's second book, disease runs through the body, violence runs through the neighborhood, memories run through the mind, trauma runs through generations. Almost eerily quiet in even the bluntest of poems, Brown gives us the ache of a throat that has yet to say the hardest thing-and the truth is coming on fast.Fairy TaleSay the shame I see inching like steam Along the streets will never seep Beneath the doors of this bedroom, And if it does, if we dare to breathe, Tell me that though the world ends us, Lover, it cannot end our love Of narrative. Don't you have a story For me?-like the one you tell With fingers over my lips to keep me From sighing when-before the queen Is kidnapped-the prince bows To the enemy, handing over the horn Of his favorite unicorn like those men Brought, bought, and whipped until They accepted their masters' names. Jericho Brown worked as the speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans before earning his PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston. His first book, PLEASE (New Issues), won the American Book Award. He currently teaches at Emory University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. "--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member poetontheone
Jericho Brown's second collection employs its titular motif in surprising and affecting ways, weaved through a challenging introspection of identity and self that shows how black men, gay black men, are quite aptly crucified by their society. Everything I say about this book seems petty. Let me not mislead you that is a book of political diatribes, or queer poetry, or neo-confessional verse. It is in part all of these things and none of them. Staggering lines attest to this: "We wrote our own Bible / and got thrown out of church" or "We saw police pull sharks out of the water just to watch them breathe" or "Nothing we erect is our own." This is one of the most powerful collections of contemporary poems that I have had the joy of reading.… (more)
LibraryThing member b.masonjudy
I've been putting off this review because I don't know what to say about this collection other than it felt grounded in particular scenes and imagery, a specificity that also carried mythological weight.


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