The New Testament
Jericho Brown’s The New Testament is a devastating meditation on race, sexuality and contemporary American society by one of the most important voices in US poetry, and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
‘To read Jericho Brown’s poems is to encounter devastating genius.’ – Claudia Rankine.
In poems of immense clarity, lyricism and skill, Brown shows us a world where disease runs through the body, violence runs through the neighbourhood, and trauma runs through generations. Here Brown makes brilliant and subversive use of Bible stories to address the gay experience from both a personal and a political perspective. By refusing to sacrifice nuance, no matter how charged and urgent his subject, Brown is one of the handful of contemporary poets who have found a speech adequate to the complex times in which we live, and a way to express an equivocal hope for the future.
The New Testament was winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry and the Paterson Award for Literary Excellence.
It may be called The New Testament, but Jericho Brown's second collection has a very Old Testament violence at the heart of it. Images from Genesis - the flood, the garden - here inspire parables of a modern America, where the inscrutable forces of justice are not always just . . . On the surface, much of The New Testament covers similar thematic ground to Danez Smith's widely acclaimed Don't Call Us Dead, another recent collection that grapples with the complexities of life as a black, gay American man with HIV . . .But in its tricksy, self-mythologising approach to the traditional lyric "I" - both inviting and subverting biographical readings - The New Testament has far more in common with last year's TS Eliot Prize winner, Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong . . . Brown's message too, offering love across barriers of race and sexuality. * Telegraph * Brown's is a necessary art in an era that has seen lingering racial conflict and growing acceptance of gays in America, as well as extreme intolerance and homophobia in many countries overseas. These poems work because while they emanate from an intimately personal place, social concerns loom as large as the barber in Bonnat s painting. To merge the private with the public so seamlessly is an enviable feat. * The Antioch Review * Some folks write poems, Jericho Brown writes gospel. -- Danez Smif, author of Don't Call Us Dead Erotic and grief-stricken, ministerial and playful, Brown offers his reader a journey unlike any other in contemporary poetry. * Rain Taxi * In his second collection, The New Testament,Brown treats disease and love and lust between men, with a gentle touch, returning again and again to the stories of the Bible, which confirm or dispute his vision of real life. 'Every last word is contagious, ' he writes, awake to all the implications of that phrase. There is plenty of guiltsurvivor s guilt, sinner s guiltand ever-present death, but also the joy of survival and sin. And not everyone has the chutzpah to rewrite The Good Book. * NPR * To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius. -- Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen and Macarthur Genius Award winner Dazzling verse on masculinity and race, steeped in the language of the Bible and addressing sexuality and violence, this is a striking and inspiring collection . . . His poems reveal an unwavering belief in the power of language to redeem us from the wreckage of history and contemporary conflict, one that is contagious and might even give us all a reason for hope. * Guardian *
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?