Literary Disco Discusses Jericho Brown’s The Tradition
Julia, Rider, and Tod on the Pulitzer Prize–Winning Poetry Collection
This week, Julia, Rider, and Tod read and discuss Jericho Brown’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, The Tradition, “a book of profound sorrow and violence, but also profound beauty.”
From the episode:
Tod Goldberg: This is something we’ve talked about before on the show, that trauma isolates you. It makes you feel like you’re the only person to experience that horrible thing, even a trauma that you know other people have experienced, it feels isolating. And so here he puts into words something that I think men feel great shame about. And if he can go out there and put it out there, then you can go out there and talk about it to someone. You can share your pain. You can divide it by speaking. I don’t often think of books as being devices for catharsis. I don’t look at nonfiction as being a self-help manual, and I don’t look at poetry as being a self-help manual.
But what I do see in poems like this is a willingness to be vulnerable. We’ve talked about this before on the show with Jared Yates Sexton’s book, is part of the problem with men in general is an inability to express their own vulnerability. The toxicness of themselves is this bred-in thing. And here he is being so vulnerable all of the time. But what the fuck does he have to lose? He’s being hunted on the streets. His entire life is about vulnerability.
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