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4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  272 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Poetry. African American Studies. LGBT Studies. PLEASE explores the points in our lives at which love and violence intersect. Drunk on its own rhythms and full of imaginative and often frightening imagery, PLEASE is the album playing in the background of the history and culture that surround African American/male identity and sexuality. Just as radio favorites like Marvin ...more
Paperback, 69 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by New Issues Poetry Press
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10th out of 57 books — 54 voters
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Some favorites include: "Pause", "Rick", "Dark Side of the Planet" and "Family Portrait".
There are three sections of poems in this book, with each section titled after a button on a stereo, though obviously they’re also words with resonance: REPEAT, and PAUSE, and POWER. Music, both as trope and as thing, the idea of song and actual songs and musicians, figure heavily. As for the poems themselves, I like how they’re smart and conversational, I like their wryness, and I like that they’re poems that tell stories. There’s casual violence in these poems, a father beating his son with a ...more
Jace Harr
Jericho Brown’s 2008 collection Please is a free-verse auditory adventure from the place where blackness and homosexuality intertwine. This is Brown’s first book, but not his first foray into poetry, having completed an MFA and being published in numerous highly acclaimed magazines. He has also worked as a professor and speechwriter in New Orleans.

Divided into sections titled like the buttons on a CD player, Brown often uses music and musicians as a backdrop for his experiences. The collection f
The Burning Bush

Lizard’s shade turned torch, what thorns I bore
Nomadic shepherds clipped. Still,
I’ve stood, a soldier listening for the word,
Attack, a prophet praying any ember be spoken
Through me in this desert full of fugitives.
Now, I have a voice. Entered, I am lit.
Remember me for this sprouting fire,
For the lash of flaming tongues that lick
But do not swallow my leaves, my flimsy
Branches. No ash behind, I burn to bloom.
I am not consumed. I am not consumed.
What gives most pleasure in this book is its willingness to struggle with identity, and to embrace the fact that struggle consists of actions that bring him closer to understanding. Or maybe a more appropriate way to say it is that the struggle makes him more fully human.
James Grinwis

Jericho Brown is going to be a huge, big, voice in American poetry. Some sublime lines throughout the book, and, while I normally don't go for this, the performance oriented boldness of the poems gave it all the right kind of muscle.
Saeed Jones
I love this book because Jericho put some much love into it. Drawing from his personal experiences as well as his love of R&B, he's created quite a collection.
Really fresh. Although the poems feel plainspoken and direct, Jericho Brown is okay with being occasionally oblique. While he retells stories of his hardworking family, his tough-loving parents, and an uneasy childhood--he also mixes in some sly commentary on the act of telling: "I should have told you this / Lines ago" ("Again"). My favorites are the poems for partners and lovers, which seem to me as if they tread new ground in gay poetry, because they are romantic and sexy but not campy, outra ...more
Open Loop Press
Jericho Brown promises no revelations. His poems are tight, trimmed of excess, lyrical and lonely.

I want to answer their questions
Tell them the dead man’s name
But I cannot identify the broken body.
Even I don’t know who he is.

His poems are home to the hardest questions: Can a boy love the father who whips him? What’s the best way to injure, after departure, the person one loves?

How best to hurt you.
Fling a pitcher of sweet tea.
All the lights on.
Phone your mother
And threaten cremation.
Mia Tryst
Dear God, Please will hurt you - in a good way. It's a very physical and lyrical book of poetry that just goes right through you with one seamless poem followed by another. Think of an extended metaphor, music as the medium, in which we are allowed to experience the speaker's pain in bass; joy, with its fierce undying love, ("Sean"; "Betty Jo Jackson"; "Like Father") sung in soprano until you are spent; and, throw in nothing less than a beautiful voice laced with male eroticism, its bluesy, smok ...more
Jennifer Chapis
“If the red sun rising makes a sound, / Let my voice be that sound.”

Jericho Brown's voice is a whip. A deft delivery of poetry, Please is smart, sad, beautiful, musical. I love the way in which the Tracks organize the book and music informs the poems. Song of absence. Man as song. Music as love. So many moments of inspired connection feel like keys turning. Rich full-circle gestures, fascinating lines drawn. I admire the original, organic synchronicity of the persona poems.

In general, these po

Absolutely excellent poetry. There's something about the rhythm and lyricism of each of the poems that just makes them come alive. You never really know where each one is headed, and it's great to read them over and over, while still being able to pick up new things. A lot of the poems are persona poems, so it's helpful to have a basic understanding of who the speaker is each piece (there's a short reference guide in the back to help with this). As it says on the back of the book, the work is ma ...more
Renee Alberts
Jericho Brown’s poetry collection Please is organized into four sections: Repeat, Pause, Power and Stop. Brown continues the musical theme throughout a cycle of poems whose titles are all numbered tracks and whose content references song lyrics. Other poems refer to characters from The Wizard of Oz and slide fluidly between elevated verse and rhythmic slang. These devices serve as entry points for Brown’s intimate explorations of love, violence, and the lines where they intersect. Sometimes thos ...more
A testament to the innovative and exploratory writers. Exploring his homosexuality, his race, family relationships, Brown delves into the dark side of humanity, attempting to find understanding and peace.

Especially loved the poem "Tin Man." So many different ways to read it, none of them being the "right" way--endless interpretations!
Patricia Murphy
This book shared a lot of resonating themes with another book I recently read (also published in 2008): James Allen Hall's Now You're the Enemy. This made me think about the effect of braiding in a poetry collection; pulsing back to topics and images to weave a story rather than marching through it chronologically. It's a skill I need to practice. These poems are tightly wound narratives with strong images and details that do so much work. Here are some of my favorite moments from the book:

A. Hotzler
I fluctuate between three and four stars; there are a number of poems in which I have no contextual foundation for understanding, but there are a few poems (Detailing the Nape and Prayer of the Backhanded) are absolutely tour de forces of poetic expression. I've had the pleasure of listening to Brown read his work--and talk with him personally--and I'd highly recommend, when he comes to your town or a reading: GO. SEE. HIM.
Darin Ciccotelli
I'm biased, as I know Jericho from my time in Houston. But in re-reading this book, I remembered how much I admire these poems. My favorite moments are the most defiant ones, and for all of the singing and praising that happens in the book, I'm most moved by the poet's anger. But that probably says more about me than it does Jericho's poetry. Anyway, if people haven't read this collection yet, they ought to.
Dec 29, 2014 h rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014, poetry
a lot to like, a brave book from the Academy of American Poets
Prepare for the 2010 Poets Forum in New York City (October 28-30) by reading Brown's newest book of poetry, and check out the Poets Forum 2010 bookshelf for the latest collections by each of the poets participating in the Poets Forum. Happy reading!
this is one of my favorite books in any genre. i carry it in my purse. lend it to students and make them promise to return it. these poems are so brave and honest. that's why i keep it with me. it reminds me to be fearless in my own work.
This has got to be one of the best poetry collections I've read all year...Brown not only makes me wish I were a poet, he makes me wish I were a good poet...I heard music on these pages.
Read this while vacationing at Hammonasset Beach this weekend. Really liked some of the poems, but had a hard time relating to most of them.
Nic Sebastian
Found this an interesting collection and competently-written, but it didn't make me feel a whole lot. A bad day, maybe.
This is not a book you read when you "feel like reading poetry" this is a book you read when you "feel like feeling."
Jericho Brown sings beauty into the terror, terror into beauty. Each poem took my breath and did not give it back.
Chelsea Arnott
One of my favorite books, ever ever ever.
Jericho Brown came to read at my school and I fell in love.
Broadsided Press -
"Open," from this collection, was published on Broadsided September 1, 2008 -
Doralee Brooks
This is an extraordinary book. The range of theme and form is dizzying, and the language, magnificent.
Cynthia Manick
amazing, its rare to see a poet take a musical history until it becomes his own history
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Vibrant poets, sad poems 1 5 Mar 18, 2012 12:52PM  
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  • M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A
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  • Hum
  • Song
  • When My Brother Was an Aztec
  • American Sublime: Poems
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  • Cocktails
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  • Head Off & Split
  • Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions
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Jericho Brown worked as the speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before receiving his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He also holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and a BA from Dillard University. The recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, the Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, and two travel fellowships to ...more
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