If you read what critics say about Jericho Brown, you’ll notice that they often mention a performative quality in his work, as if he were once a speechwriter, which actually he was (for the mayor of New Orleans). Ilya Kaminsky notes “His lyrics are . . . alive—something that is quite rare in his generation of very bookish and very ironic poetics.” Personally, I’m often struck when reading Brown’s poems how every line seems like it’s the best of 10 others that got cut away in this final draft; I see a distilled quality. So I’m very eager to hear him read/perform, especially with a performance poet like Sean DesVignes (aka Mega) who despite his young age (he may not even be 25 yet!) is already a Cave Canem fellow and a veteran of the New York City poetry slam scene. The two poets have never met one another—that in itself is not unusual—but when I called Mega a year ago to tell him that his partner would be Jericho Brown, Mega’s response was something like, “That’s wonderful. Jericho Brown was one of my earliest influences!” I’m expecting a legendary meeting and look forward to listening, and I hope you’ll join me! —Taylor Mali
JERICHO BROWN worked as the speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before receiving his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He also holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and a BA from Dillard University. The recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, Brown is an Assistant Professor at Emory University. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including, The American Poetry Review, The Believer, jubilat, Oxford American, Ploughshares, A Public Space, Tin House, and 100 Best African American Poems. His first book, PLEASE(New Issues), won the American Book Award.
MEGA (aka Sean DesVignes), a Kinfolks Poetry Editor, is an Afro-Caribbean writer from Brooklyn, NY. A former NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador, he is the author of the upcoming chapbook, Take My Eyes To The Dry Cleaners. Carrying an extensive background in performance poetry, Sean is a 2-time member of the NYC-LouderARTS Slam Team & former Grand Slam Champion of CUNY Brooklyn College. A member of the Divine Fabrics Collective, & a poetry editor at Kinfolks, his literary honors include fellowships & scholarships from Cave Canem, Callaloo & the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference.
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