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 Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Pink Floyd characterize loss, loneliness, addiction, and denial with their voices, these poems' chorus of speakers transform moments of intimacy and humor into spontaneous music.


Everyone sings in this livewire, passionate book, in which the poet ventriloquizes a cast of characters hurt into music: Janis Joplin, the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, Diana Ross, a field of crickets. What these songs hold in common is a commitment to examine how love lives beside the wound, how tenderness and harm are so close together, for these battered singers, that it's often hard to tell them apart. Fresh, deeply felt, formally adventurous, Please is a stunning debut. 

Mark Doty


Please is saturated with an artful passion that gives fire to Jericho Brown's elegies and pathos to his odes. This is the poetry of bloodship: the meaning of family, of love, of sexuality; the resonances of pain and the possibilities of redemption. No wonder there are so many people naming and being named here. No wonder Jericho Brown and his divas and misfits, his tricksters and innocents call out and answer to "a please that sounds like music." Intimate, honest, immediate—I could never say all I love about this book…

Terrance Hayes


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, if only for a duration of 75 pages of this volume. Indeed, Jericho Brown's first book is one of those rare things: a debut of a master poet.

Ilya Kaminsky


Jericho Brown’s poems are tough, urgent, provocative, and intimate at the same time; a ragged music, plain language, an energetic syntax.  I believe these poems.  They move me.

Donna Masini


Jericho Brown's debut collection Please resonates like aftershocks on a fault line. The poems here are hauntingly the consequence of lives lived. The silent terror in these poems is the future they seem to inform despite the attempts to integrate the incoherent with the coherent moments of lived experience. Please continually repositions its readers inside the violence of the interruption, the psychic break. To read these poems is to encounter the devastating genius of Jericho Brown: "If I had known the location of my own runaway/ Breath, I too would have found a blues."

Claudia Rankine


These astounding poems by Jericho Brown don't merely hold a lens up to the world and watch from a safe distance; they run or roll or stomp their way into what mattersloss, desire, rage, becomingand stay there until something necessary begins to make sense.  Like the music that runs through this collection, they get inside of you and make something there ache.  It's a feeling that doesn't quite go awayand you won't want it to.  This is one of the most luminous and courageous voices I have read in a long, long time. 

Tracy K. Smith

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