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These poets confront the trauma of the past—the personal past and the shared past—while celebrating desire and love. Ugly Music, the debut collection from Diannely Antigua, explores reality, dream, trauma, and obsession, and how to create an identity informed by and in spite of the past. Jericho Brown’s The Tradition, longlisted for the National Book Award, details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal in poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma. Malcolm Tariq’s debut, Heed the Hollow, explores the concept of “the bottom” across blackness, sexuality, and the American South in poems that reckon with a lineage of trauma while searching for beauty and love. Moderated by Erika Stevens, poetry editor at Coffee House Press.
Jericho Brown is author of the The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Award. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection, The Tradition won the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in The Bennington Review, Buzzfeed, Fence, jubilat, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TIME magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is poetry editor at The Believer magazine and the director of the Creative Writing Program and a professor at Emory University.