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

2014 Phillis Wheatley Poetry Reading

Emory University
Emory University
Published February 9, 2015


An evening event of the 2014 Callaloo Conference held at Emory University, the annual Phillis Wheatley Poetry Reading featured Jericho Brown and Kevin Young reading their own work. Former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey greets conference attendees and welcomes Vievee Frances, poet and Callaloo associate editor, who introduces Brown and Young.

Callaloo logo

Callaloo, a journal of African diaspora arts and letters, held its 2014 conference at Emory University from October 15–18. This event brought together creative and critical voices from in and outside the US to present and discuss artistic expressions ranging from poetry, the visual arts, fiction, and music to archiving and cultural preservation. Southern Spaces video-recorded this remarkable conference and, in collaboration with Callaloo, presents a series of highlights, beginning with the Phillis Wheatley Poetry Reading. Southern Spaces thanks Callaloo founder and editor Charles Henry Rowell, managing editor Jackson Brown, and Emory provost Claire Sterk for their support of this conference and series.

Greetings by Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey introduces the 2014 Callaloo Conference.

I am Natasha Trethewey, the Director of the Creative Writing Program and I’m pleased to welcome you to this year’s Phillis Wheatley Reading, an annual event co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Department of African-American Studies at Emory University. We’re pleased tonight to present this reading as a part of the Callaloo Conference, which we are hosting this year at Emory, an event that would not be possible without our many generous sponsors across campus, the work of Paula Vitaris in the Creative Writing Program, and especially the planning and organization carried out singlehandedly by the remarkable Sarita Alami to whom I owe the greatest of debts. On behalf of all of us here at Emory I’d like to thank the Callaloo Conference participants, staff, volunteers, and editor Charles Rowell. We are especially delighted that tonight’s event is one of the highlights of the conference, showcasing the work of two of Emory’s own poets, Jericho Brown and Kevin Young, both of whom have new books out this year that we are celebrating.

Jericho Brown





Part 2Jericho Brown reads “Labor”

Part 3Jericho Brown reads “Again”

Part 4Jericho Brown reads “N’em”

Part 5Jericho Brown reads “Langston’s Blues”

Part 6Jericho Brown reads “Track Five: Summertime” 

Part 7Jericho Brown reads “Heart Condition”

About Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown is the recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Best American Poetry, and in Nikki Giovanni's 100 Best African American Poems. Brown holds a PhD from the University of Houston, an MFA from the University of New Orleans, and a BA from Dillard University. His first book, Please (New Issues in Poetry & Prose, 2008) won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2014. Brown is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Program at Emory University.

Kevin Young


Part 2Kevin Young reads “Ode to Old Dirty Bastard” 

Part 3Kevin Young reads “Ode to the Harlem Globetrotters”

Part 4Kevin Young reads “Ode to Chitlins”

Part 5Kevin Young reads “Bereavement”

Part 6Kevin Young reads “Charity”

Part 7Kevin Young reads “Codicil”

Part 8Kevin Young reads “Expecting”

Part 9Kevin Young reads “Greening”

Part 10Kevin Young reads “To Mr. and Mrs. ______ on the Death of their Infant Son”

Part 11Kevin Young reads “Money Road”

About Kevin Young

Kevin Young is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Book of Hours, which was featured on NPR's "Fresh Air," and editor of eight others. His previous book Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels won a 2012 American Book Award and Jelly Roll: A Blues was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. His book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and winner of the PEN Open Award. The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (edited with Michael S. Glaser) won a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in poetry. Young is currently Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.

Question and Answer Session


Part 2Both poets answer a question about genealogy in African American poetry and in their own work

Part 3Both poets discuss the role of music in their poetry

Part 4Both poets discuss “place” in their work

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