Poet Jericho Brown will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Alumnae Library Theater at Elms College.



Blue House Writers Series to Host Reading by Jericho Brown

Poet Jericho Brown will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Alumnae Library Theater at Elms College.

Blue House Writers Series to Host Reading by Poet Jericho Brown

The Blue House Visiting Writers Series will present a reading by writer Jericho Brown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Alumnae Library Theatre. A reception will precede the event at 7 p.m. The public is invited to this free event.

The evening promises “a gift of true poetry,” said Dan Chelotti, assistant professor of English at Elms College. “I think listeners will be thinking and talking about Brown's poems well into the night. I hope it will challenge the audience, as with all events in the Blue House Visiting Writers Series, to question their own preconceptions of poetry.”

“I hope [the audience’s] emotions will be stimulated in ways that lead to thought, consideration, and reconsideration,” Brown said. “I hope this leads to a change of mind(s). I believe that when people truly change their minds, they also change their actions.”

“Jericho's poems talk about important social issues without being didactic. That is a real challenge for any artist functioning in a difficult political climate, but Brown manages with formal skill and grace,” Chelotti said.

“I strive to be clear—not obvious. I am neither afraid of nor married to difficulty or accessibility. I mean to write poems that are felt before they are understood,” Brown wrote in a passage published in a Poetry Society of America web feature. “Of course, anyone who reads or hears my poems can tell that I have an investment in story and folklore, particularly as they are understood in the African-American literary tradition, but no matter how obvious the narrative, I have never thought that knowing exactly what is going on in a poem makes it attractive.”

Brown also is active on Twitter, a platform he uses to connect and to call for social justice. “Twitter helps us communicate publicly in ways that make us feel more at home, allowing us to speak more frankly, since we have so few characters with which to work,” Brown said. “I find that something about it leads me (us?) to a feeling where I am much more concerned about sincerity than I am about my supposed ‘career’ or ‘image.’ ”

An associate professor in English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta, Brown has received a Whiting Writers Award, and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker and The Best American Poetry. His first book, Please, won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament, won the Anisfield­-Wolf Book Award.

This event is part of Elms College's Black History Month series. For more information about our Black History Month events, visit http://bit.ly/1PUO8vR.