The Tradition

Finalist, National Book Awards 2019 for Poetry

ISBN 9781556594861
Copper Canyon Press
Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is a winner of the Whiting Award. Brown’s first book, Please, won the American Book Award. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

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 revelling in a celebration of contradiction.

Judges Citation

The tradition on which Jericho Brown meditates is both that of our literary heritage, but also one of inherited masculine violence. Between these poles, Brown’s poems navigate the many permutations of the lyric imagination as they ask questions about affection, about blackness, about what it means for a man to love other men. Formally adroit and inventive, the architecture of The Tradition houses the poet’s deep wish to render a voice full of emotional clarity and power.