Jericho Brown, the Winship Distinguished Research Professor in Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta, has won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Professor Brown was honored for his poetry collection, The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press, 2019).
“I have known about the Pulitzer Prize and understood its prestige since I was in elementary school and Rita Dove won it,” Professor Brown said. “And I’m so glad I understood it as one of the possibilities for a writer even when I was a kid.”
The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry is given annually to a “distinguished volume of original verse by an American author.” In selecting Brown’s book for the honor, the Pulitzer board called it “a collection of masterful lyrics that combine delicacy with historical urgency in their loving evocation of bodies vulnerable to hostility and violence.”
Tracy K. Smith, a Princeton University professor and former poet laureate of the United States, said that “these astounding poems by Jericho Brown don’t merely hold a lens up to the world and watch from a safe distance; they run or roll or stomp their way into what matters ― loss, desire, rage, becoming ― and stay there until something necessary begins to make sense. Like the music that runs through this collection, they get inside of you and make something there ache.”
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Dr. Brown is a magna cum laude graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans. He holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston.