Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and University of New Orleans alumnus Jericho Brown will serve as the principal speaker at the University’s fall 2021 undergraduate commencement ceremony. UNO will also present Brown with an honorary doctorate.
The University will hold two commencement ceremonies in the UNO Lakefront Arena on Friday, Dec. 10: a graduate student ceremony at 11 a.m. and an undergraduate student ceremony at 2 p.m.
A Louisiana native, Brown is a professor of creative writing and director of the creative writing program at Emory University in Atlanta. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Dillard University, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UNO and a doctorate in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston.
Brown earned a 2020 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his poetry collection “The Tradition,” published by Copper Canyon Press. The Pulitzer Prize Board described Brown’s work as a “collection of masterful lyrics that combine delicacy with historical urgency in their loving evocation of bodies vulnerable to hostility and violence.”
In addition to “The Tradition,” Brown is the author of two other collections of poetry: “The New Testament,” which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront and the Academy of American Poets; and “Please,” which won the 2009 American Book Award.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jericho back to campus,” said President John Nicklow. “His preeminence as a poet and a faculty member make him an inspirational example for our entire university community. I am looking forward to him sharing his gift for beautiful and powerful language with our graduates.”
Brown is the recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland. He was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the Thom Gunn Award and the Hurston Wright Poetry Prize.
His poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, The New Republic and The Best American Poetry.