Jericho Brown grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, and worked as a speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans before earning his PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. He also holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Orleans and graduated with a BA from Dillard University in 1998.
Brown is the author of The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry; The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), which received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and Please (New Issues, 2008), which received the 2009 American Book Award.
Of his work, Ilya Kaminsky writes, “His lyrics are memorable, muscular, majestic. His voice in these lines is alive—something that is quite rare in his generation of very bookish and very ironic poetics. Brown’s poems are living on the page, and they give the reader that much: a sense of having been alive fully.”
Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award and has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.
He has taught at the University of Houston, San Diego State University, and the University of San Diego, as well as at numerous conferences and workshops. Brown is currently an associate professor of English and creative writing and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and poetry editor at The Believer.
Born and raised in Santa Ana, California, poet Aracelis Girmay earned a BA at Connecticut College and an MFA from New York University. Her poems trace the connections of transformation and loss across cities and bodies.
In her 2011 online chat interview with the Rumpus Poetry Book Club, Girmay discussed innovative and hybrid poetic forms, stating, “I wonder what new explorations of form might have to do with documenting the new and old ways of thinking about power. Of how we’ve been taught to think by our families, institutions, television, computer culture, etc. [….] Perhaps the so-called hybrid poems are about dislocating or splintering the central lens.”
Her poetry collections include Teeth (2007), Kingdom Animalia (2011), and The Black Maria (2016), named a “Top Poetry Pick” by Publisher’s Weekly, O Magazine, and Library Journal. She is also the author of the collage-based picture book changing, changing (2005).
In 2011 Girmay was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2015 she received a Whiting Award for Poetry. A Cave Canem Fellow and an Acentos board member, she led youth and community writing workshops. She currently teaches at Hampshire College. She lives in New York City.