The Tradition by Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown’s new book The Tradition examines personal history, cultural issues, the speaker’s interior—many of the best poetic topics. The voice is strong and sure, but not resting—the poems question the world around them. Many of the poems are written in forms, which Brown does deftly, always an impressive feat. This book feels important, not in small part because the speaker feels important. And that might be the best part about this book, that the speaker, as just one of us, recognizes the importance of each of us. Buy here.

From “As a Human Being”

There is the happiness you have / And the happiness you deserve. / They sit apart from each other / The way you and your mother / Sat on opposite ends of the sofa / After an ambulance came to take / Your father away.

From “The Rabbits”

I caught them / In couples on the lawn / As I pulled into my driveway / After a night of bare music, / Of drinking on my feet / Because I think I look better / Standing. I should lie. Say / They expressed my desire / To mount and be / Mounted as they scurried / Into the darkest parts of what / I pay for . . .