Blast Furnace had the privilege of hearing Jericho's stirring reading of Langston Hughes' "My People" at a 2011 tribute to the late poet. Following the reading, we added Jericho's first full-length poetry book, Please (New Issues Poetry & Prose), to our library. In 2014, his second poetry book, The New Testament, was published by Copper Canyon Press, and has received high acclaim.
Blast Furnace is pleased to present the following interview with Jericho, who kindly took the time to review and answer our questions during travels at the busiest time of the year - the holiday season.
Does the music of poems, such as “Prayer of the Backhanded” (from Please), particularly the alliteration, come naturally to you?
|photo credit: John Lucas|
Do you find that when you write, you are sometimes struck or even surprised by where it goes and how it ends?
Has winning the American Book Award changed anything for you?
What is your response to an editor or critic who feels too much has been written about sexual identity?
What made you a lover of the poetic line?
You have talked in other interviews about how you had to embrace all aspects of who you are as an individual. Has writing poetry helped you to do that? Has it brought about aspects of healing and forgiveness that may have once been difficult?
Some would say that entitling a book of poetry The New Testament could be quite risky. Did you feel or do you ever feel trepidation about releasing your work out into the world?
Discuss how the poems for your second book came about. Was it a steady flow of inspiration and poems, or did you write segments at a time? What inspired you to create it as a collection?
Which poem in the book was the most challenging to write and why?
What's next for you?
Editor's Note: Visit Jericho Brown's official website, where his books of poetry are available for purchase, at http://www.jerichobrown.com.