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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

Naming Each Place

Emory University
Published March 4, 2010


Jericho Brown, 2009

"I always tell people I was born and raised in Shreveport, but I grew up in New Orleans." In four poems from his collection Please and an interview with Natasha Trethewey, Jericho Brown delves into double-edged father-son relationships, acquiring an education, historical racism, the exigencies of escape, and being a gay black man in the US South.

"Naming Each Place" is part of the Poets in Place series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University’s Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost. Series producers are Natasha Trethewey and Allen Tullos.


Jericho Brown reads the poem "Like Father." Poem text
Jericho Brown reads "Prayer of the Backhanded." Poem text
Jericho Brown reads the poem "Scarecrow." Poem text
Jericho Brown reads the poem "Runaway." Poem text.

Interview with Natasha Trethewey

In this interview, conducted on September 5, 2009, during the Decatur (Georgia) Book Festival, Jericho Brown talks with Natasha Trethewey about learning to love his hometown, gay black identity, the visibility of southern poets, and autobiography in poetry.

Part 2Trethewey and Brown discuss the place of region in writing and the work of other black writers

Part 3Trethewey and Brown discuss writing against the New Critics

Part 4Trethewey and Brown discuss working and hanging out in New Orleans and more

Part 5Brown discusses negotiating a gay, black, southern, identity and the space created by renaming himself

Part 6Trethewey and Brown discuss the ethics of writing about living people and life experiences and poetry as enduring art

About Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown's first book, Please, was published by New Issues in Poetry and Prose in 2008. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including The Iowa Review, Oxford American, and New England Review, and his honors include fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland. Brown is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of San Diego.

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