Arkansas Center for the Book to hold virtual program with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Jericho Brown

                The Arkansas Center for the Book will host a virtual poetry program with Jericho Brown on Feb. 4. The hour long program will include Arkansas Poet Laureate, Jo McDougall, and will focus on Jericho Brown’s 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning book of poetry, The Tradition (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2019). The event will be free of charge and open to the public via Zoom and also livestreamed over YouTube.

About Jericho Brown

                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. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront and the Academy of American Poets.  

                In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, his third book, The Tradition (2019), was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award. Brown’s poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, The Pushcart Prize anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.

The Tradition

                Beauty abounds in Jericho Brown’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, despite and inside of the evil that pollutes the everyday. A National Book Award finalist, The Tradition questions why and how we’ve become accustomed to terror: in the bedroom, the classroom, the workplace, and the movie theater. From mass shootings to rape to the murder of unarmed people by police, Brown interrupts complacency by locating each emergency in the garden of the body, where living things grow and wither—or survive. In the urgency born of real danger, Brown’s work is at its most innovative. His invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is an all-out exhibition of formal skill, and his lyrics move through elegy and memory with a breathless cadence. Jericho Brown is a poet of eros: here he wields this power as never before, touching the very heart of our cultural crisis.

— Canyon Road Press

About Jo McDougall

                Jo McDougall has been Poet Laureate of Arkansas since her appointment in 2018 by Governor Asa Hutchinson. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and has published seven collections of poetry and a memoir.

                She has won many awards including a Pushcart Prize (2020), The Arkansas Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry (2019), and an Academy of American Poets Prize. McDougall was inducted into the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame in 2006. With a proclamation from Governor Hutchinson in 2020, she established the first Arkansas Youth Poetry Day, to be celebrated annually.


                Additional information about the program, including registration, is available on the Arkansas State Library’s website at

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