The Beautiful Witness We Bear: Writer to Writer with Jericho Brown and Nikky Finney Moderated by Ismail Muhammad
June 23 @ 7:00 pm - July 21 @ 7:00 pmFree
In our Writer to Writer series, two writers who are fans of each other’s work come together for a conversation. This is one you’ll want to revisit again and again. National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, whose latest poetry collection is 2020’s Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, aims for a sweet spot in her poems, an intersection “where the beautifully said thing meets the really difficult to say thing.” It’s a poetic crossroads that Jericho Brown, winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for The Tradition, can attest to: “Nikky Finney,” Jericho has written, “manipulates into music the words readers use to see, hear, and understand a soul’s history.” Jericho’s poems occupy a similar place between transcendence and unflinching, grounded witness. As Claudia Rankine has said, “To read Jericho Brown’s poems is to encounter devastating genius.”
Both Jericho and Nikky are known for their powerfully resonant presence as well as the brilliance of their work. Nikky’s 2011 National Book Award acceptance speech, which started with the sentence “We begin with history: the slave codes of South Carolina, 1739,” moved viewers to tears and was called “the best acceptance speech for anything that I’ve ever heard in my life” by host John Lithgow. Jericho’s “irreverent, magnetic presence is beloved in the worlds of poetry and education” (Krista Tippet, OnBeing). Come witness a sure-to-be-unforgettable conversation between two of poetry’s most profound and affecting voices, witnesses, and visionaries. Moderated by Ismail Muhammad, reviews editor for The Believer and board member at the National Book Critics Circle.