Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown returns to Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown returns to Aspen

The Pulitzer-winning poet speaks to his community connections before Book Ball

The Aspen Times staff report

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown will be the keynote speaker at Aspen Words’ 2022 annual Book Ball benefit on June 21.

Brown was most recently in Aspen, presenting a reading and speaking in conversation alongside his friend and fellow poet Ada Limón at the 2020 Winter Words Speaker series. During that conversation, Brown read two works appearing in “The Tradition”, a collection of poems which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2020. Returning to Aspen Words in a new capacity during their annual gala, held at the Hotel Jerome, Brown will appear with 2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize winner Dawnie Walton and Aspen Words Leadership award honorees Isa Catto and Daniel Shaw.

The gala, held in the Grand Ballroom, will also include attendance by 2022 Summer Words conference faculty including authors Lan Samantha Chang, Mark Doty, Terrance Hayes, Fonda Lee, Mary Beth Keane, Robert Kolker, Claribel Ortega, Joanna Rakoff and Natalie Serber.

Said Brown about his return to Aspen, “I am so excited to be coming back for the Book Ball gala, as it gives me the chance to talk back to a community that I always feel I am a part of, no matter how far away I am.”

Brown’s book, The Tradition, is a collection of poems focused on history, identity and the intersection of the personal and political. His poetry is specifically focused on themes of father and son, being a Black man, mass shootings and other topics, prescient in 2020 and more closely related to current events than ever.

“The great wonder of poetry is how it distills experience, illuminates the senses, and broadens our capacity to understand. We are so lucky to be hosting Jericho Brown, whose precise and honest poems interrogate and celebrate life’s contradictions. He is a master of words and an inspirational chronicler of our times,” said Adrienne Brodeur, Executive Director of Aspen Words.

Brown’s poems have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Buzzfeed, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. His first book, “Please,” won the American Book Award, and his second book, “The New Testament,” won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. He is an associate professor of English and creative writing at Emory University.

Brown also taught as a guest faculty member in Aspen during the Summer Words 2017 session. In remembering his time, he remarked about the non-profit, “Aspen Words is a template for how to build and nourish, as well as expand, a writing community and readership by the public.”

Ticket purchases for Book Ball support events serving more than 8,700 participants. These include adult and youth writing workshops, an author speaker series, writers’ residencies, a literary award celebrating fiction with social impact and a community reading city-wide book club event. Donations and ticket sales from the event also help support writers’ conference scholarships for emerging writers from historically underrepresented groups, free poetry slam workshops for middle and high school students in the Roaring Fork Valley, free tickets for educators and students to attend all events, virtually or in-person and community book club discussions in conjunction with events on the lawn of the Red Brick.


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