$14.00 paper | 69 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-79-1
Publication Date: Oct 2008
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | ShopWMU |Chicago Distribution Center 

Winner of the American Book Award

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. In Please, Jericho Brown sings the influence soul culture has on American life with the accuracy of the blues.

“Everyone sings in this live-wire, 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 examining 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 blood-ship: 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

“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

“Erotic and grief-stricken, ministerial and playful, Brown offers his reader a journey unlike any other in contemporary poetry: a book in which moral and cultural relativism does not form the pillars of its foundation.”
—Virginia Konchan, Rain Taxi Review of Books

“Brown is particularly adept at exposing the duplicity inherent in both experience and language. In fact, the double-entendre of the collection’s title sets the stage for what’s to come since one might utter the word ‘Please’ in either a begging or a dismissive manner.”
—Wayne Johns,

“The poems in Jericho Brown’s Please hit you right away and make you say, ‘Wow,’ make you pause, make you close the book to take a break to recuperate from the blow. Please is a strong book of poems — strong like a man’s fist, strong like love, strong like music.”
—Melissa McEwen, Immunization Against Invisibility

“Just read this book. Seriously. Everybody should be reading Jericho Brown.”
—Weston Cutter,

“Brown is able to seamlessly place music icons into a constellation of his own family members and lovers: a mother who goes back to her abusive husband, a homeless gay teenager, a father who prefers to speak with the back of his hand. These voices are united by a menace that can never be fully exorcised, only recognized and sung about.”
—Saeed Jones, Barrelhouse

“. . . what makes Please impressive is Brown’s ability to marry intimate revelation with subtle musicality, the voice direct, even simple, but always nuanced and startling. He riffs and sings with the best of them. And it’s a pleasure to just sit back and enjoy the show”
—Bruce Snider, The Rumpus

Jericho Brown


Jericho Brown is author of the The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Award. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection, The Tradition won the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in The Bennington Review, Buzzfeed, Fence, jubilat, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TIME magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is the director of the Creative Writing Program and a professor at Emory University.