Even language is not on our side.”
Jericho Brown interviewed by Kaveh Akbar
Jericho Brown : Black gay poet. I’m after understanding what being a Black gay poet might allow me. I’m not the only, or the first, Black gay poet, so what does being a Southern-gay-Black-poet allow me? What can that bring forth in my work? That’s what I’m really interested in seeing. I’m interested in looking at the larger—supposedly larger tradition and all of the traditions within that supposedly larger tradition. I’m going to change that because I hate the word so much because obviously I am one hundred percent an American poet. I am a part of the larger tradition. I am an English-speaking poet.
Even language is not on our side. Even in that moment, right? And so that’s what I mean about being skeptical and questioning. We have to do that every moment. We have to take every opportunity we can to correct ourselves, and that’s what poems allow us to do. That’s why revision is so important. It gives us the opportunity to look back at what we’ve done and say, “Did I get it right?” before we try to get the work in print. Do you understand what I mean?