This episode features an event from the 2019 Portland Book Festival called Dangerous Love: Desire & Obsession. The event’s panel includes some of the greatest poets at work today: Diannely Antigua, Jericho Brown, Malcolm Tariq, and was moderated by Erika Stevens.
The conversation explores what poetry is, what it can do, and who it is for. Through their writings, these poets engage with our most urgent issues and speak powerfully about an individual experience of race, class, power, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Antigua, Brown, and Tariq each write with urgency, passion, anger, and joy. And in conversation, they perform a vital function by approaching all of our most essential challenges from a perspective fundamentally different from our news cycle, and from our polarized political discourse. Through poetry they are able to give us a new and surprising perspective on experiences and issues that we may otherwise feel are intractable. They are what we need to advance the conversation.
“I feel like I’m always sitting around with my rage and with my fears. And I feel like the only reason my rage and my fears don’t lead me to do particularly violent things is because I can be honest with myself about the fact that they’re there, and I can talk to them [through poetry].” – Jericho Brown
Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize. A graduate of the MFA program at NYU, she was awarded a Global Research Initiative Fellowship to Florence, Italy. She is the recipient of additional fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and the Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program. Her poems can be found in Washington Square Review, Bennington Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. Her heart is in Brooklyn.
Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. His 2019 collection, The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press), was a National Book Award finalist. His poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.
Malcolm Tariq is from Savannah, Georgia, and is the author of Extended Play, winner of the 2017 Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. His debut poetry collection is Heed the Hollow (Graywolf Press). A graduate of Emory University, Tariq has a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. He lives in New York.
Erika Stevens is senior editor at Coffee House Press, and was previously in acquisitions at the University of Georgia Press and the University Press of Florida. She has taught in the Graduate Program in Book Publishing at Portland State, and she does manuscript consulting, coaching, and developmental editing under the name of Quick Bread Editorial.